A New Knee

As you may know I have been having trouble with my left knee (especially) for quite some time – around nine years in fact. I have tried just about everything to make it better as the posts I Kneed YouA Cure for Knee Pain, & Knee Cure News will make clear to you, but finally it became too much and I just had to ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak and go for a complete replacement.

My surgeon, Dr Ben Brooker of Gippsland Orthopedics (whom I recommend) has been telling me this for years but fortunately during my time delaying they have improved both the prostheses and the (now robot) procedure, so maybe the delay wasn’t all just pain (for no gain).

The (top) X-ray below shows how the cartilage on the inside of my left knee is completely gone so that the two bones have been grinding together (painfully) for some time now. The right knee is not much better. I could have just had a half knee replacement which is a little less traumatic, but I would still have had to have the whole knee replaced down the track and it is (procedurally) a lot better to just go for the full replacement as each successive operation becomes more difficult and makes a good outcome that much harder. I have several experts’ advice on this.

The X-ray shows lots of nasty arthritis too particularly under the patella (knee cap).

Knee replacement X-Ray Before

This X-ray shows the same knee a few weeks after having a knee replacement. Most of the patella has also been replaced with a plastic one. If you wear the artificial cartilage out they can replace it. Just a pity they can’t do the same with the natural cartilage – something I was waiting to happen – perhaps your generation will see such improvements. I am just lucky they have been able to do this for me and that I am (now) able to walk again without pain.

Knee replacement X-ray after

This is the joint they put in. Top view:

Knee Replacement

Side view. Lovely shiny titanium – of course! The rubber band is just to hold the model together. Your own ligaments do that for the actual knee. They do not need to remove any (now) to replace the knee.

Knee replacement

The knee straight after I woke up – and they had me up walking on it within an hour!. Not a pretty sight. It wasn’t before the op actually, but it looks a lot better now it is all healed up with just a scar line around 10″ long. I was not expecting to be winning any beauty contests at my age (or ever) anyway.

Knee Replacement after

I was on crutches for I guess two weeks. I had physiotherapy once a week and probably should ahve followed the excellent exercises a little more religiously. However the outcome is apparently better than the medicos expected . I was back doing 6,000 steps a day after about month and resumed work (light duties) around the farm.

So, it is now eight weeks after the op. I decided I wanted to go for a multi-day hike in my beloved Gippsland mountains. Ben kind of doubted that I could/should (that it was a bit early and I might make myself a bit sore) but I am ever impatient. A quick BTW he thinks I am well ahead of the game in my recovery in that I am regularly doing 10,000 steps and have over 90% function back. One of the  reasons I have put this off for so long is that I have seen my peers hobbling around forever after such an op unable to do anything. I did not want that to be me. Turns out they just haven’t really tried hard enough to get the knee better!

So, off I went for a few days’ walking up my beloved Wonnagatta River. This is just below the Moroka confluence – which you can see flowing in on the left in the distance.

Wonnangatta-Moroka Junction

My first day I was headed for a spot about 5-6 km in where I had camped before – about an hour and a half I thought, but there was so much timber down (and I was not quite so fit as I hoped) that it was over two hours before I arrived at camp just before dark. Just enough time to get the tent up and scrounge some wood for the fire.

Spot, as usual leads the way:

Wonnangatta River Scene

I just love the views of the river as you travel along.

Wonnangatta River Scene

There is a huge deep pool on a river bend with a hidden flat where there is room for a couple of tents – and ample firewood.

Wonnangatta River Scene

This is my ‘kitchen sink’. I just about had to chase the deer off it to fill my billy – as you can see.

Wonnangatta River Scene

There was even a resident trout right there, but unfortunately you can’t see him in the photo.

Wonnangatta River Scene

As it turned out Ben was right. I wasn’t quite ready for this trip. The rough going and the pack weight made my knee quite sore, so I spent a rest day lying around in my (200 grams) Hummingbird Hammock with my small dog, Spot – who just hates hammocks, as you can see.

Hummingbird Hammock

That is my tent in the upper left corner of the photo. The river is maybe five metres away on the right

Hummingbird Hammock

When we wake on cold mornings Spot insists on  coming into my sleeping bag for a cuddle, a bad habit which I try (unsuccessfully sometimes) to discourage.

Montbell Sleeping Bag

This is the morning view from my bed. The red thing is the hammock.

Hummingbird Hammock

BTW I curtailed my trip because of concern about the knee. As it turned out my specialist was right. I have succeeded in setting my recovery back several weeks. Curses! Don’t you just hate it when people are right?

See Also:

I Kneed You

A Cure for Knee Pain

Knee Cure News

Hunting Tales







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