After decades of pounding my knees running, racing, hikes, one of my knees keeps crying "Help". I've been seeing one of the best sports medicines docs in the area. He isn't a surgeon so a good choice instead of a doc who's quick with the scalpel.
MRI shows knee has to be replaced but timing depends on my tolerance for discomfort that might last over a few years. Over 5 months I've had a cortisone shot, needles to break up tight tissue, injection of synthetic lubrication and weekly PT.
He tried me with one of his neoprene braces with small metal hinges but he gave me a prescription for a larger, heavier and more sophisticate brace. He's offered to refer me for a surgical consult but is trying to follow my desire to forestall surgery as long as possible. There's a suggestion that a possible next step is an injection of my blood platelets ($$).

With any previous medical procedure, I've always felt that if it's inevitable, get it over and done and cut short the number of bad days. But I'm afraid that I won't be able to do the type of off trail bushwhacking I enjoy. This knee has been scoped 3x over the last 20years and the MRI says another would not accomplish much.
Hoping the avid hikers here who have had a knee replaced can offer advice and how much their new knee has changed what they were able to do.