knees, knees & more knees

17 Jul

It’s been ages since my last post – however there has been a significant development on the knee story and a message I need to give.

Firstly, after an 8 month wait I finally had the surgery on the right knee on the 4th July. This happened after an expensive private visit to the consultant after the left knee also started to become painful and swollen (this is one with the cruciate ligament reconstruction and only 40% meniscus left). An MRI scan showed that all was well in respect to the repairs and there were no further tears to the meniscus, however there was an increasing amount of ‘wear and tear’, this essentially means that the remaining cartilage is simply getting thinner so there is less cushioning between the bones.  The surgeon’s recommendation was therefore to put in some cortisone injections while they were working on the right one.

So this brings me onto the results of the right knee surgery – I went into this op hoping that it would get me back to where I was at the end of last summer – walking, kettlebells, body pump etc.  I’m now dealing with the fact that that this is looking unlikely.

I had a spinal anesthetic so was able to see what the surgeon found, as well as not one but two tears to my meniscus, there was extensive damage to the cartilage that sits behind my kneecap, this makes sense as it had got increasingly painful to kneel.  This has happened through ‘wear and tear’ and it a reminder of the amount of time I spent being severely overweight – the reality of this is that there is so little cartilage in places, there is almost  bone on bone action, it’s far worse than what is going on in the left knee.

So I am now in the position of allowing the severe inflammation that was inside my knee to go down – it wasn’t pretty!  And then working out how to move forwards with exercise, I have been increasingly restricted over the last few months as both knees got more painful.  Some of the things I really enjoy – swimming and walking will need to be adapted – breast stroke and going downhill aren’t recommended. The classes I enjoy will all need to be looked at to see how much I can actually still do as kneeling and squatting are now an issue.

The surgeon’s advise is that I need to look after my knees – or I’m looking at replacement way too early. It is disappointing, I was hoping for a better result, I am though looking forward to looking at what the plan needs to be for keeping active.

Of course the message from all of this is that this may not have happened to this extent had I not put the strain on my knees for all that time, whilst I can’t go back and change anything, I can tell my story and hope that younger people who are overweight or not, consider the effects this can have on your body.

It’s not just about not being able to find clothes, getting out of breath, risk of high blood pressure and diabetes – there is strain being put on all your joints, the longer this goes on the worse it will be, it won’t matter if you get fit later in life, the damage will already have been done, whilst you can reverse the blood pressure and diabetes problems, your cartilage won’t regrow, once its gone, that’s it.  Due to the restrictions this places on activity, keeping fit will be trickier and ironically the activity you want to do will make the situation worse!

So don’t put off getting fitter and smaller – do it while you’re young – it’s easier then and you have a chance of avoiding later issues.  I’m now looking at having regular injections into my knees (not little ones either!) and being restricted as to the activities I can do.  Far from ideal.

So plans need to be made on how to move forwards – if I gain too much weight again, my knees won’t be able to cope and I risk major problems, that isn’t the way to go.

I’ll report back on what the solution is.




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