Barlow's Beef: Why I won't be having a knees up this Christmas


I am need of some help this week and I'm hoping you can advise me. As a lifetime runner I have experienced some arthritic knee pain. With occasional painkillers and supportive knee braces it's never interfered too much with my mobility until this year.
Any attempt to run now creates sufficient reaction to prevent me doing more than a steady walk. I consulted a physiotherapist who prescribed a course of stretching exercises that I carried out with very little improvement in my condition.

When I started to have pain even at rest I consulted an orthopaedic surgeon who sent me for an MRI scan which revealed sufficient wear on my joint to suggest a knee replacement was the only long term solution.

Whilst I'm still fit and reasonably mobile I opted for sooner rather than later and the knee is due to be replaced at the end of this month. What I hadn't counted on was the length of time needed to recuperate. I am told I will not be able to drive for two whole months, which is pretty serious news in itself.

Given my work rehabilitating difficult and unruly dogs I have no idea how long it will be before my new polythene/metal replacement joint will stand up to all the pulling and lunging that is the default behaviour of the dogs I work with.

I'm not concerned about the surgery itself, what has to be has to be, but the rehabilitation process worries me somewhat. I have a list of dogs a mile long relying on me to help resolve their issues and I really don't want to let them down.

I have an automatic transmission on my vehicle but as it's my right knee that needs replacing that won't help getting me back on the road.

I know some of you will have had knee replacements and any help and advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

I might even dedicate my new knee to you (and save the old one for the dog). In any event if you do have any good suggestions to get me mobile as quickly as possible I would be most grateful.

Just a thought-what happens when I go through the security scanner at the airport?

"Sorry, sir, you can't take that leg on the plane with you."


The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Michael Orange
Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 1:57 pm
Hi Vic.

I am 73 and had my right knee replaced 13/7/15. When you can drive depends simply on when you have the confidence and ability to do an emergency stop. My first drive was on 27/8/15. I think I was ready at least a week earlier but wished to ask the surgeon at the six week review before trying. My car is manual so when I get the left one fixed, I will need to have a similar experience. It should not be a problem for drivers of automatics. Unfortunately, the left knee op has been postponed as I am on chemotherapy after a bowel cancer op and possibly a liver op later. You can't mix chemo and surgery. However, the right knee is good, although the damage to the left overloads it, so I have a blue badge.

Regrettably, there is no avoiding some period without driving.

Grit your teeth and go for it. Best of luck.

PS. Flying should not be a problem, although taking some documentary
evidence with you might prove useful.
Angela Jackson
Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 5:16 pm
Hi Vic
I hope I can offer some advice both as a physio and a fellow knee replacement patient. I had my right knee replaced 12 years ago and it was the best thing to do. I have since been able to play golf and I regularly walk my dog and am a nordic walking instructor. The poles helped me off load my knees going both up and down hill so have really helped regain my fitness.
There is no getting away from the rehab. It is hard work but rewarding. I would be more than happy to see you and guide you through the process. You are likely to be unable to drive for between 4-6 weeks although some do manage earlier. Do you know whether it is a half knee or whole knee you are having as that makes a difference?
With regard to exercise after, once we have the stitches/staples out at 2 weeks you can begin hydrotherapy as soon as the wound is dry. This will make such a difference and I can recommend Annette Turner at Total Fitness who specialises in these type of operations. I can give you the number. In addition, we can work with you on land to regain balance which will be essential to get you nimble on your feet again. We have many ways to get the muscles strong again including electrical stimulation units you can buy or rent which ensure your muscles get back stronger than before quickly.
If you want to chat it through then please do call me in the clinic, Physiofit in Alderley Edge 01625 590444 and leave me your number so we can chat through any anxieties you might have. Rest assured this is something you will get over and soon be back better than ever chasing the dogs again. Good luck
Marina McHugh
Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 6:00 pm
My husband had both knee joints replaced four years ago. They were full knee replacements done two months apart. He had an epidural which is supposed to speed up post operative recovery and has been very pleased with the result. He says get it done, and you won't regret it.
Sue Joseph
Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 7:45 pm
I am similarly needful of a right knee replacement and the recuperation period worries me too so the comments made are helpful.
With regard to hydrotherapy with Annette Turner, I cannot recommend her too highly as she worked with me after I suffered a serious accident several years ago, she is brilliant.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 2:18 pm
Thank you so much for all your positive comments
Really appreciate it.
I have three weeks to go yet before my op so I will keep you posted
I lome the hydrotherapy idea.