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What was it, six months ago, that prompted me to consult a surgeon about my knees? Was it the fact that whenever I got on the Tube, staring desperately around as I scanned for somewhere to sit, whole carriages rose to their feet to offer me a seat because I looked so wobbly?
Was it that, on one occasion at least, I became so trapped in a low chair, unable to rise because of the pain, that friends had to lift me up? Was it when I had to put in a second rail on my stairs so that I could haul myself to bed? Or was it when I started to look for Underground stations with ‘step-free access’?
Combination - Months - Rooms - Surgeon - Jonathon
A combination of all these, getting worse over the months, brought me to the consulting rooms of orthopaedic surgeon Jonathon Lavelle.
The X-rays revealed arthritis had wreaked havoc on the joint, while the cartilage was almost non-existent behind the kneecap — in both knees. After staring at the scans, Mr Lavelle recommended partial knee replacements of both knees in the same operation.
People - Replacements - Upstairs - Slopes - Chairs
People like me, who need partial, as opposed to full, knee replacements, typically find walking on the flat comfortable, but going upstairs or up slopes and rising from chairs is painful because it’s the underside of the kneecap that’s affected, and this comes under more strain when your knee is bent.
Partial replacement involves shaving off the arthritic underside of the kneecap and lining it with plastic. Next, the surgeon shaves off the front of the end of the thigh bone and attaches a metal implant to it to replace the part that’s worn away, allowing the kneecap to move smoothly.
As long as you’re reasonably healthy (amazingly, at 74, I was), it is apparently quite routine to have both knees partially replaced at the...
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