Today is six weeks since I had an operation for replacement my right knee — otherwise known as total knee arthroplasty. The operation removes the impaired knee joint and replaces it with an artificial joint. The right knee had given me problems over the years going back to an injury as a young adult. The recent precipitating factor was a fall on slippery grass in the back garden in 2008 which caused a meniscal tear. The ensuing osteoarthritis became progressively worse and was particularly noticeable when travelling in Iran in November of 2014.
The recovery time from the operation is about six weeks although full functional recovery can take up to a year. Ongoing exercises are designed to increase the range of motion of the new joint and to strengthen the surrounding muscles, particularly the thigh muscle (quadricep). Strength in the quadricep helps to keep the knee joint stable, therefore protecting the new joint.
The worst part of the recovery was carrying the painful stretching and bending exercises in the weeks following the operation — the pain was managed using tramadol (synthetic equivalent of morphine) and paracetamol.
Today the surgeon gave me an ‘A’ for effort and an ‘A’ for achievement. I can now drive a car, no longer require to wear pressure stockings and can get along with a stick (cane) for normal walking — stairs may require the use of a crutch. I have resumed my normal cooking and household duties !!