Knee Replacement Allows Teacher to Return to Both Her Profession and Passion(s) 2008
As an elementary school teacher in Washington, DC, Jane, 49, spends a large portion of her day on her feet. Her other passions, dance and cycling, are also physically demanding.
Between her indoor and outdoor biking workouts and her teaching Country Western line dancing, those who know Jane say she has as much energy as some of her students. “I’ve always been really athletic, even as a child,” said Jane.
Despite Jane’s enthusiasm for a life “in action,” her severe knee osteoarthritis began to challenge her levels of activity several years ago.
“I really started to notice it when my knee pain started tiring me out, even after I took pain medication. I couldn’t teach dance classes or ride my bike anymore. I knew I had to do something when even the pain medication wasn’t helping, and it would get so bad that I felt like crawling on the floor the day after dance class. In fact, I found myself using my bike as a clothes hanger instead of getting outdoors to ride it.”
Over the years, Jane underwent a number of arthroscopic surgeries in her left knee to correct the wear and tear osteoarthritis caused. Ultimately, Jane realized that she could no longer watch her life pass her by anymore, so she and her surgeon decided it was time for total knee replacement.
Jane’s knee replacement surgery went very well. Her doctor chose an implant called a Sigma® Rotating Platform Knee, which is designed to bend and rotate. This implant is made exclusively available through DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.
Following surgery, Jane found “my energy level doubled. I can teach all day and then go dancing at night. I’m back to riding my bike outside three to four times a week.”
A lifelong student herself, Jane began taking ballet classes recently. “I consult my doctor and physical therapist on what positions and moves I may perform. I know I couldn’t have taken these classes before due to my knee pain.”
When asked what she would share with others who are considering knee replacement surgery, Jane said, “You must be an active participant in the decision making process. Find a doctor who empowers you to do your own research, ask questions and talk to other patients. It really helps you to have the right mindset going into surgery and rehabilitation.”
What a difference a year makes – “A year ago I was unable to walk two blocks to go to the park to play with my grandchildren. This year, we went to the park, rode bikes, went down the slide and played on the swings. It felt good to be playful again.”
As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine whether an orthopaedic implant is an appropriate course of treatment. There are potential risks, and recovery takes time. The performance of the new joint depends on weight, activity level, age and other factors.