No, I’m sorry, I disagree

I feel like this might be a repetitive phrase of mine lately when it comes to dealing with medical professionals. Sometimes I feel like I might just be deliberately argumentative, and other times I really don’t think they understand which page I am currently on, never mind where I am actually trying to get to.

I have grand plans for me and this bionic knee. Me and this knee, we are going to climb mountains, reach places only accessible on foot, cycle many hundreds of kilometers, swim in all sorts of different locations, indoors and outdoors. Heck, we might even go as crazy as to jump out or aeroplanes and attempt to ski down ski slopes, who knows!

But what I most certainly DO know, is me and this knee, we are nowhere near done yet. So, when my physiotherapist says ‘ah, that’s as good as it’s going to get, I’m sorry, you and me are destined to disagree. a LOT.

The story so far

I’m currently 4 months and 1 week post total knee replacement. Here’s where I’m at.

What I CAN do

  • I can ride both my mountain bike and my time trial bike out on the road. Not tried anything further than 20km just yet.
  • Swimming is not a problem at all. This has been least affected by the TKR.
  • I am back working as a massage therapist for the first time in almost a year, only taking 30 and 45 min appts at this stage though.
  • back at work as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor
  • I can get up off the floor from 1 knee, (good knee down)
  • Navigate up and down steps single footed
  • walk up and down short slopes that are not too steep.
  • knee flexion to 123 degrees.

What I still cannot do

  • bend my knee past 123 degrees
  • grab hold of my foot behind me while standing
  • kneel down on my tkr knee on its own
  • climb up and down large steps
  • lunge with my TKR leg behind
  • hold a squat for much past a couple of seconds
  • do any work that requires standing or any length of time past 2 hours (this causes swelling)
  • stand up pedal, or cycle up steep hills

I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more for both those lists, but that is what springs to mind initially.

I’m bloody determined to be able to stand like this (this is my good leg). The physio asked me why I wanted to. This was like a red flag to a bull. I WANT TO BECAUSE I CURRENTLY CAN’T – IS THAT ENOUGH OF A REASON!!!

He went on to say that once their patients get to 120 degrees, they usually say that is the best they will get. Nope, again, I’m sorry I disagree. You are writing me off on the remainder of this flexion without even giving it a second thought.

I am not your ‘usual patient’. By that I mean I am not 65+, I am NOT satisfied with simply being able to walk again and I am NOT being told what my limits are like its some list read out of a book.

I will NOT stop pushing this knee and I will NOT be told what I cannot do, unless you give me a bloody good medical reason why not. For example, I was told that returning to running would wear the prosthetic joint out much faster and mean I need a revision sooner. THAT my friend, is a bloody fine reason to NOT run again. But I have had no fine reasons why I should NOT expect more flexion from this knee, and why I should not continue to work hard to get strength and power back in that leg to make it every bit as good as the other leg, if not better.

The rest of the story?

So, where to from here? I am seriously considering seeking out another physiotherapist who has a lot of experience with knee replacement patients who are younger and more active than the norm. I think I need a different perspective on this, because I’m not flipping giving up and I am NOT accepting that this is it.

I was told that I would not ride my bike for 6 months, I rode it in 3.

I was told that I would not achieve much more than the average 90 degree flexion. I took a spin bike home with me and achieved another 30 degrees almost while the therapy dept was closed for Christmas.

See me and this knee? WE ARE NOT DONE YET – DO YOU HEAR THAT!!!?

Now I need to go and find someone who IS on my page.


Published by Melanie Magowan

I am a personal trainer, massage therapist and small business owner.

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