Sorry to be MIA for a few days. My husband Del had full knee replacement surgery last Tuesday. The doctor told him about 10 years ago that he had arthritis in that knee and at “sometime in the future” he would need a knee replacement surgery.
For the last 10 years he gradually lost the ability to do things. He didn’t really cause much of a fuss because after all, he could still walk and he wasn't keen on a major surgery. The walking he did wasn’t without pain and the pain slowly got more and more frequent over time. Last fall he took a trip to visit his brother Farron in Seattle and the touristy walking really caused him problems.
That pain from his vacation lead to another trip to the doctor and an MRI. Of course the arthritis didn’t go away, and in fact had gotten got worse. He had bone cysts and inflammation of the bone surface due to bone-on-bone contact between the femur and tibia. The doctor told him he could continue to put off knee replacement surgery as long as he could stand the pain.
That was the problem. His ability to tolerate pain for so many years gradually stole his mobility and most importantly the fitness in his bad leg. Now that he is post-surgery the physical therapists are saying that the quadriceps muscles in his bad leg barely fire. Those muscles have limited strength and his range of motion is not good. In short, physical therapy will be longer and more difficult for him than for someone that kept a higher level of fitness before surgery.
The big lesson is not to wait too long before getting a bad knee replaced. The lower the fitness is in your bad leg/knee prior to surgery, the longer and more difficult knee replacement rehabilitation will be for you.