2024 Post Surgery Knee Update

If you have been following my journey, you know that I had a right knee replacement in September 2022. 

After 17 months, I had a follow-up with my orthopedic surgeon. The appointment consisted of the surgeon examining the latest x-ray and seeing that the prosthetic was in place. He felt around the knee. He watched me walk. He bent my knee and was impressed by the amount of bend that I could get from the knee. Mostly, he was interested in the prosthetic itself and suggested that I return in three years to follow up. 

It is reassuring that the metal knee is intact and in place. It is disconcerting that the surgeon did not care about me, the person who is housing the knee. 

My Life Pre-Surgery

Moving with Knee Pain video series with Heather Skoll
Photo Credit: Ken Alenxander

After several years of knee discomfort, a fall on my knees in 2013 “finished off” my right knee or whatever cartilage had been left. Until the day I fell, I ran 5 mornings per week, taught several yoga classes per week, and did some international traveling, including building schools and a lot of walking. Although the pain in the knee was there, I explored many options, such as cortisone injections, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and PRP. This helped to manage pain, mostly temporarily, although extensive walking was becoming a challenge. 

By 2021, I could barely walk to the corner of the street and back, which was only about 300 feet. It was at this point that I returned to the orthopedic surgeon and got on the waiting list for a knee replacement. I had my knee replacement surgery in 2022. Nothing could have truly prepared me for the surgery and my long recovery after! I had the support of my husband, family, and friends, but I still found myself feeling very alone and hopeless. Even the medical professionals who were supposed to be helping my recovery were making it more painful. I was a version of myself that I did not recognize. 

18 Months Post-Surgery

Fast forward to the present. I am now 18 months post-surgery. I found a new physiotherapist, acupuncturist, and other professionals who listen to me and my body’s needs rather than treating me like a robot.

I have since joined the local YMCA. I have been trying out different classes, including Pilates and yoga. No one knew that I had knee surgery, that I am a yoga teacher, or that this was the first class back to a yoga class in person since early 2020. I am so incredibly proud of myself for all the work I put in to get on the mat in a class once again! Here are some tips I used to calm my brain and prepare post knee surgery.

All is well

When I attended the pilates class, the teacher had us go onto our hands and knees, which is, for lack of a better word, “weird.” My surgical knee feels like I am squishing a melon in this position. The teacher suggested an alternative when I said I had a knee replacement. 

After the class, two nice women approached me. Nan suggested using 2 of the mats under my knee. That was a good suggestion. She told me that she was 8 years post knee surgery and experiencing no issues. The other woman, Lacey, told me that she was 2 years post-knee surgery. She wore a brace and used a cane. 

After the class, when it was time to descend the two sets of stairs from the class, I watched the two women’s movements. Nan walked backward down the stairs. Oh my! I was shocked. I hadn’t needed to do that since the first-week post-surgery. Lacey followed, walking sideways with one-foot landing on the step followed by the other. No step over step for her. Admittedly, sometimes I still do this when I am very tired or sore, but mostly, I strive to walk step over step. I have worked hard to do this for over a year! Nan and Lacey were surprised to see me able to climb down stairs “normally” after a knee replacement. I told them about how Adapted Yoga Classes have helped my recovery immensely. Here’s what knee surgery taught me as an entrepreneur!

I am still not 100% sure that having the knee replacement was the right thing to do for me. But I think going to this in-person yoga class was the first step in the next phase of my recovery.  For now, I will continue to focus on finding the gains and benefits!

If you have sore knees, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, or are contemplating knee replacement surgery, let’s chat about how Adapted Yoga could help you!

5 thoughts on “2024 Post Surgery Knee Update”

  1. Heather – I’m so glad that your hard work to recover has contributed even more to your ability to help others.

    Since my knee replacement surgeries, I adapt/modify yoga poses and other kneeling exercises to supporting myself with a chair or with my massage table. It works well and does not harm my knees!

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