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HORIZON BLOG

Dad's Knee Hurts

Question

My father has quite a bit of knee pain and he is very resistant to seeing a specialist because he thinks they will just want to replace his knee. He says that he is just going to live with the pain. 

It is hard for us kids to see him rubbing that large knee all the time when a solution may be possible for him. Dad is 85 years old, and he says that he is not going to live that long anyway.  Otherwise, he is in very good health. 

Do you think one of us kids should be more aggressive with him and force the issue or simply respect his wishes and back off? 

 

Answer

I believe fear keeps allot of people from managing medical issues as they arise. There is this belief that knee surgery is difficult to recover from, so some individuals decide not event to check out what the options are.

There are several reasons why your father should seek a medical opinion now and not later. The primary reason is that he is not going to get younger. If he needs surgery and he is a good surgical candidate currently, now is the time to do it. People are living well into their 90s these days and it is no longer uncommon to see 90 and even beyond. He could very well be one of those individuals that lives a lot longer and with increasing discomfort. A bad knee rarely gets better without intervention, and it will likely get worse. In five or ten years he may be too fragile to be a surgical candidate. He will then be living with constant pain that only gets worse.

Another reason to seek a solution for that knee is mobility. Knees are important to walking, balance, stair climbing, and getting up and down from chairs. The odds of a fall with bad knees or hips are present every time he tries to move. 

A third reason is what a bad knee does to your gait and how it affects your hips and spine. Any joint that is involved in moving the body from one place to another impact’s other joints and body parts when not functioning optimally. When your knee hurts you do not usually want to bend it. In that case you use your hip in an abnormal way to compensate for the knee that you do not want to bend. Just sit on a street corner or place where people gather and watch them walk. It is easy to pick out people with joint problems as you will see it in their gait. An abnormal gait decreases your balance and puts strain on other joints It also makes a fall much more likely.

As you can see there are compelling reasons to have the knee examined by a medical professional. Your father needs to explore his options now. He may very well be blessed with a long lifespan and quality of life matters. So, yes do you best to convince him to explore his options now.

I wish you well on this health care journey.

 

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