After my total knee replacement, four months earlier, I continued with the physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and exercise. My hamstrings were still protesting with muscle resistance when I bent my knee and tried to straighten it but there was slow progress. By the time, I had to go back to the hospital for a check up, I had a fully functioning knee with a ROM of at least 110 and it was more or less straight.
– being kind to myself about my progress
-being punctilious about doing the exercises at home
-concentrating on how I was walking and lengthening my stride. My physiotherapist demonstrated to me how I was walking with much smaller strides than her even though I was taller. I was ‘bustling’ along waggling my elbows and moving my shoulders too much as I walked. In fact, I was waddling. Her imitation reminded me of a relative and I resolved never to walk like that again.
-progressing to newer harder exercises and using a knee weight at home for strengthening my muscles
– a session on new exercises to do in the hydrotherapy pool. The physiotherapist told me that I was doing my exercises to 90 per cent of my capacity and not 100 per cent. This led to my concentrating on putting in more effort. The self help hydrotherapy is ‘me time’ to use an old cliché. It’s quiet and peaceful; I try hard and I can feel the difference afterwards.
When I went back to the hospital, the nurse practitioner was really pleased with my progress. She asked if I had pain in my knee and I heard myself saying ‘No’ which afterwards I realised was perfectly true. I could analyse that I had pain in my calf muscles which prevented my knee bending further but I was determined to work on that more in physio and hydrotherapy. I mentioned that I had been feeling emotionally vulnerable and she said I was not the first person to say that. In her experience, people with a certain type of personality often felt like that.
My consultant came in to say hello, and told me that that 90 per cent of the improvement after a total knee replacement happened in the first year and I could expect a further ten per cent in the second year. I am determined to make the most of this window of opportunity.
I had been walking further at the weekends, on rougher ground, along footpaths and up steps. I could see how I was stronger and that these activities had all been impossible before my operation.