Our patient, “Tim” has always been a runner. At 6’4” and about 240 lbs, he was still able to run a marathon at 43 years old. But when his knee started bothering him around age 48, he found himself winding down. “I realize a body doesn’t always feel like it did when it was 20, but, over time, just getting out of bed was horrible. It was miserable to be reduced to shuffling around in Crocs, and I realized it wasn’t going to get any better if I left it alone.” As a newlywed at 50, he also couldn’t see missing out on all the travel and adventures he and his wife had planned together.
Despite everyone telling him that it was an old person’s surgery, Tim had his knee replaced at the ripe old age of 54. “Surgery can be scary, but I thought it was unreasonable to suffer in pain for years when I didn’t really have to. I didn’t want to be afraid I would fall or trip over something and I didn’t want my wife to have to take care of me.”
After doing his homework, and finding some good reviews, he met with Dr. Christopher English at Georgetown Orthopedics.
“Dr. English agreed that people my age don’t typically get this done, but it does happen, and since I wanted to remain active, there was no reason to postpone it. My new knee would last longer and be stronger than my original one, so now I can even ski without the worry of breaking a natural bone.”
Tim had the surgery, was out of the hospital the next day, and, like any good athlete, pushed through his rehab for the first goal of going to South Africa. “I didn’t want to go on a safari and not be able to get out of the truck. I don’t regret making the decision one bit.”
He describes his surgical experience as positive and upbeat, even when his healthcare providers pushed him in recovery. “It was a lot different than the stories I’ve heard. Perhaps because of my resolve as a younger patient, I was excited about therapy and pumped to get back to normal.”
Tim says he doesn’t feel any different these days and even goes to a Crossfit gym three times a week. “The only time I even think about my knee is when I do kneeling exercises, and I don’t do jumping, but there’s plenty else to do!”
Tim’s South Africa trip was filled with walking, hiking, and a beach full of penguins. “We went on four safaris and I felt for others in my age group whom I noticed had less mobility than I. Some of them weren’t able to see all the sights. I saw elephants and lions and walked all the way around Victoria Falls.”
But, he says, you don’t have to see the world to appreciate a pain-free life. “I also enjoy playing and running around with my grandchildren.”
His takeaway: “You don’t need to wait until you’re 65 or 70 to get a new knee or shoulder or hip. When I’m 70, that’s not the time I’ll be traveling the world. Now is when I want my knee healthy and working. So when looking back someday, I can say, ‘I did that’. I say, just do it!” ↔
FYI: Dr. Christopher English is an orthopedic surgeon
with Georgetown Orthopedics. He practices
at St. David’s Georgetown Hospital.