The Price of Obesity: Orthopedic Issues

Is this:


This is an x-ray of my knees taken today at my orthopedic surgeon’s office.   I went in today to have him look at my right knee, which I hurt last week and which was keeping me from walking and working out properly.

When the doctor finally came in to see me, after our initial pleasantries, his words to me were:

Your left knee actually looks worse on film.

I was shocked.  I was totally expecting to hear that the ligaments in my right knee were shot to hell and that I’d need surgery right away to clean up the mess since that was the reason I was there in the first place–I’d hurt my right knee, again, and everyone and their mother urged me to go see a doctor about it.  I begrudgingly agreed to do so, and was able to get in to see the doctor today.

Instead, I was told that my left knee is arthritic, the articular cartilage is shot,  and that the bones are rubbing against one another.  Dr. Ramsey was surprised I was able to get around as well as I did given the state of my left knee.  He said, “Your knee looks like mine.”  He’s a good 20 years older than me.

I was told that I would eventually need a knee replacement and that the exercises my trainer has me doing for leg work will hasten the need for that replacement should I choose to continue doing them.  I was given a list of things to do, and things not to do:


To do:

  • Bike
  • Elliptical machine
  • Water exercise (swim, aerobics, walking)

He was pleased I’d already been doing those things.

I have been strictly prohibited from doing the following:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Jumping
  • Squats
  • Leg presses
  • Kneeling
  • Crawling on fours
  • Lunges
  • Any one-legged balance type activity (this was something G asked me to do instead of squats for building stability)
  • Any jarring exercise
  • Any activity that creates impact on my knees
  • Running

No running.  No.  RUNNING.

I am very, very disappointed and trying so hard not to be angry with myself but this is tough right now.  Being able to run as exercise is a goal of mine, and now that I am not allowed to do it, I’m heartbroken.  I have wanted for so long to be able to just strap on a pair of running shoes and take off running to clear my head.  And now…I can’t.  I also will not be able to play tennis, which is another goal of mine.

I am so disappointed.  I’m also furious.  Knowing a knee replacement is in my near future is disheartening at best.  Knowing that I have the potential to have my right knee scoped soon is more encouraging but still not awesome.  I have an MRI next week to determine what’s going on with my right knee, but he wants to keep an eye on the left one since the situation there is a bit more dire.  I don’t have torn ligaments (good) in either knee, but the bone rubbing on bone…that’s no good.

If I can put off knee replacement until the summer, then that’s what I’ll do.  I’ll have to figure out how I am going to afford to have this surgery lest I end up disabled by putting it off.  And that will piss me off even more because it will mean I have to be inactive when I don’t have to be.  I am not afraid of surgery; I am afraid of inactivity and being dependent on others for a prolonged period of time because I know from watching others that knee replacement is a tough, tough surgery to recover from.  The road to recovery and rehab afterward is a long one.

I refuse to be inactive.  I wasted far too much of my life sitting on my ass NOT being active and now I’m paying for it, but good.  Having sleeve surgery gave me a second chance to finally treat my body right and I don’t want to waste this opportunity. 

I’m trying to find the silver lining here and it is tough.  Now I can’t do what I have always wanted to be able to do, and it doesn’t look like I will ever get to do those things.

I don’t know how to feel.  I don’t know what to do.  This is a problem I can’t fix.

3 responses to “The Price of Obesity: Orthopedic Issues

  1. I’m so sorry. Thinking good thoughts for you.

  2. That’s really tough news to hear. I’ve been following your progress so I can only imagine what a blow this is. On the other hand, biking and swimming are wonderful workouts and you may find that you like them as well. I’m sorry. 😦

    • Thanks for keeping up! 🙂 Swimming is something I love to do, so I’m not disappointed about that. It’s just that there is something freeing about being able to run, and now that I may never be able to do it, I feel trapped by a body I didn’t take good enough care of. And that makes me angry.

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