Roy Parker was not going to let arthritis interfere with the ‘golden years’ of retirement. When the joint condition became progressively worse in both his knees over the three years after retirement, he decided to see his doctor.
“Instead of being able to use the additional time to enjoy outdoor pursuits like mountain biking and walking over the nearby South Downs, I found the pain in my knees was restricting my activities so much that I was becoming more socially isolated,” the 68-year-old from Worthing, UK tells This Is Medtech. “For example, my wife and I had not planned our usual holiday because I did not think I would be able to manage the inevitable walking around. Any distance over a few hundred metres was painful.”
He was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon, who agreed with Roy that two knee replacements would be the best plan. “I was pleased at the speed of the process. The consultation was on the 15th May, my left knee was replaced on the 23rd May and the right on the 14th June,” Roy says. His doctor used cutting-edge artificial knee technology specifically designed to get patients back to their normal lives faster than ever by delivering a high level of stability and motion.
Nevertheless, Roy was surprised by his speedy recovery. “Coming away from the consultation, I chatted to a man who had a knee replaced three weeks before, who was still using two sticks. I didn’t use two sticks after leaving the hospital and only one for the first day home. I thought the feeling in my knees was immediately better after the operations than with my arthritic joints,” he explains.
Roy also stunned his doctors when he cycled to his follow-up appointment two weeks after the first surgery. “I think I had positive attitude from day one and set myself goals, for example cycling before two weeks with my first knee and before one week with my second. I also did all the exercises I was instructed to do at various times through the day. I had timetable spreadsheets showing medication and exercise times,” says the model patient (see his video here).
Roy is thrilled about the improvement in his quality of life since the knee replacements. “I no longer plan my life to avoid walking any distance. In fact I can now walk for pleasure, taking on miles rather than a few hundred yards,” he says. His cycling is also progressing, so a new mountain bike is on the cards.
“I think the actual joints were perfect from day one. It is the surrounding soft tissues which give the pain and stiffness, so getting them moving as soon as possible is important,” he adds.
Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD) such as arthritis affect a quarter of people in the European Union. World Arthritis Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis, which can lead to treatment that can vastly improve a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing.