Below, you’ll read a letter from a patient who had knee replacement surgery.
It was 6 months ago today that you replaced my right knee. I promised to report back on my progress, and today’s anniversary is appropriate.
Initially I did very well. I saw my doctor at 3 weeks post-surgery, as you suggested, but she declined my request for physiotherapy because she said I was doing extremely well and had a good exercise routine from Scott.
I continued with Scott’s exercises until I experienced a major setback about week 6. My knee became quite swollen and I lost the bending and straightening I had achieved. At this point, I returned to the osteopath who had helped me prior to surgery. Debra was trained in Britain where osteopaths are somewhere between physiotherapists and doctors. (Osteopaths trained in the US are doctors. Those trained in Canada are neither and have a New Age bent.) Debra determined that my knee was not infected but “distressed”. Her go-slower approach to my knee rehabilitation has paid off, and she correctly concluded that my muscles have to be nudged, not forced.
The other major challenge has been changing my habits of standing and walking, as old habits led to the same old problems. Scott was the first to notice that I walked with a forward bend and tilt to the right. Debra has been instrumental in getting me to correct my posture and walking. Changing old habits takes time but I am making good progress. I turn 69 next month and I am motivated to avoid future joint problems that are avoidable.
I have also found that straightening and bending my new knee are very much affected by the muscles of my lower back. Relaxing them makes a big difference in my knee’s range of motion. I have been taking a form of yoga called Svaroopa, which is specifically geared to releasing tight spinal muscles.
This is part of my therapy program now along with various exercises, short walks to practice style, biking on relatively flat terrain, and pool exercises. I have extensive arthritis and all my joints are benefiting from this regime. Currently my new knee is very close to being straight all the time and I can bend it to 110 degrees; I expect to improve both.
Even though my full recovery has been slower than I expected, my new knee has been a solid performer from Day 1. It has been a great pleasure to be able to walk again without a fear of falling and without pain. At the end of March, we spent 4 days on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island. Even then, I was able to hike about 2 km. at a time on the relatively gentle coastal trails at the edge of the rainforest. Right now, we are on our sailboat in the Gulf Islands north of Victoria, and we will be cruising around the Strait of Georgia and hiking on shoreside nature trails for the rest of the month. These are trips I could not have made without my new knee.
So thank you again. As recoveries go, I may be a tortoise rather than a hare, but the finish line is the same.
Addendum July 9: there was no cell service at our anchorage last night so today I can add that I hiked 5 km. on a forest trail with no complaints from any of my joints.Leave a reply →