Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ambushed by Knee Pain

Well do I remember the physical therapy that followed my total knee replacement five years ago this Spring. Unlike the other forms of PT I had taken over the years, it was painful -- and necessarily so. The new appliance in the joint had to be loosened up so as to permit flexibility in walking and bending and everyday activity.

Once I completed PT, however, pain gradually eased until it was virtually non-existent. I walked the dawg every day and completed the community Heart Walk joyfully every October. That was my happy life with a bionic (left) knee until two days ago, until I started experiencing occcasional twinges of sharp pain. It occurred sporadically and seemingly just when the knee was a little extra left of center. Not contorted, but just slightly extended. So we cancelled a day trip my wife and I had planned, only to find that the pain has at least temporarily subsided today.

The pain was so intense the past two days that I am thinking I should consult an orthopedist. Hopefully it was just a passing strain, but it could indicate the start of a structural breakdown. Nothing lasts forever, including knee replacements. At the least, maybe one of their specialists -- a PA or a PT, if not the head Ortho himself -- could give me some advice on exercise. I love the senior-oriented core fitness class I've been taking the past 15 months, but perhaps there are modifications I should implement. For instance, in our warmups, we basically jog in place. And with a knee replacement, we are supposed to walk, not jog. (I just remembered that!) Perhaps I could pump my arms as though running but just tippy-toe with my feet.

Certainly I don't want to quit dawgwalking or working out or going to exercise class. Being able to work out as I age was a big motivating factor in my decision to replace the bad knee. But I don't want to overdo it, and shorten the life expectancy of my bionic knee either. So I will just try to exercise good judgment and stay the course.

                                                    © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)


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