Unfortunately, some of Laura’s favorite activities took a heavy toll on her body, particularly her knees. “I had a couple of bad, twisting falls when I was ice skating,” Laura explains. “My doctor told me I would pay for it later, but when you’re young you think you’re invincible.”
Laura was able to continue her very athletic lifestyle for a long time, but as the years passed, the pain in her left knee began to intensify. “I first began feeling the pain in my late twenties and thirties,” Laura says. “It wasn’t until my fifties, when I had significant loss of cartilage, that it became much worse.”
Eventually, Laura found that her knee pain was limiting activities. She was no longer able to run, and the swelling in her left knee made skiing more and more difficult. Even getting in and out of a chair became uncomfortable. Laura tried several treatments to address the pain, including multiple arthroscopic surgeries, plus therapeutic injections. It only hurt in one part of the knee, but nothing was relieving the pain.
A self-described “very determined person,” Laura chose an orthopaedic surgeon and discussed whether a partial knee replacement surgery would be right for her. Her orthopaedic surgeon said one section of her knee was worn away, and he recommended the Sigma® High Performance (HP) Partial Knee Replacement. Only the Sigma HP Partial Knee can replace either side of the knee or kneecap, depending on the degree of arthritis damage. Replacing only the damaged area maintains more of the natural knee, helping to relieve pain and restore more natural movement. This implant is available exclusively through DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.
After surgery in October 2007, Laura realized how much her knee pain was holding her back from the activities she loves, like hiking and horseback riding.
“Working around fit horses requires agility and quick reflexes—not something you would have without a fully functional knee, so this was one activity I was determined to fully resume following the surgery,” she explains. Laura did more than just resume this activity—six months after her surgery she won a major horseback riding competition.
Laura also began hiking again, starting with short treks and gradually building up distance over time. The true test of Laura’s knee came when she and her husband tackled a hike at a high elevation. “I was hiking at 14,000 feet,” says Laura. “My husband, who’s very athletic, was having a tough time keeping up with me, but he was smiling!”
Since the surgery, Laura’s been heading down mountains, too – recently she resumed skiing. “This was the first time I remember where I skied for ten days straight and never had any pain in my left knee,” she says. She’s also taken up a new pastime – ballroom dancing.
What’s Laura’s advice to people who feel their lives are inhibited by joint pain? “You have lots of options, so make sure you seek out the best choice for you.”
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Laura’s story may not be typical. The performance of a knee replacement depends on your age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks, and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopedic surgeon can tell if knee replacement is right for you.
1. Deshmukh RV and R. Scott “Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty: Long-term Results.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Vol 392, 2001:272-278.
Last Updated: 10/19/2009