Patient story

Chard lady completes 117th Parkrun with her new knee!

Returning to an active life style is a regular concern for some patients about to embark on joint replacement surgery, however, for Linda, 74, a keen runner from Chard, her total knee replacement surgery has given her a new lease of life.

Linda running

“I was so worried I’d never run again after surgery,” says Linda, who has just completed her 117th Park Run with daughter, Mylena and son in law Gary. Linda who regularly attends the Parkrun at Longrun Meadow, Taunton, completed the 5K course in 41 minutes recently, and is delighted to be running regularly again after knee surgery.

“Before my operation I thought my running days might be over,” says Linda, a retired teacher from Chard School. “I was so fortunate to have had an amazing consultant Dr Arnaout at Practice Plus Hospital, Shepton Mallet, who helped me to get my running safely back on track.”

Four years ago, Linda saw her local GP about her painful knee which she suspected might be due to arthritis in the joint. Her doctor confirmed this and referred her for physiotherapy. Unfortunately, despite the sessions, Linda’s knee became worse and was hindering her active, sporty lifestyle of running, golf and cycling.

“I was worried I’d never run again after surgery…I was so fortunate to have had an amazing consultant at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet.”

Linda, Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet knee replacement patient

“I returned to my GP feeling a bit defeated and concerned that my knee was showing no signs improvement. In fact, it had got a lot worse,” says Linda. “Eventually the GP agreed that I did need knee replacement surgery and put me on an 18-month NHS waiting list. During that period, I was forced to slow down my exercise as I could hardly walk for the pain. Having had stomach ulcers in the past I was very wary of taking pain killers.”

When the time came to have the operation, Linda requested to have her surgery at Practice Plus Group hospital, Shepton Mallet, under NHS patient choice – where patients can select which hospital they wish to be treated at. “My husband had been to the hospital before for a similar operation,” says Linda. “I knew it was great from his experience there, plus a few other friends had recommended it too. My consultant, Dr Arnaout, reassured me and explained the procedure and recovery steps clearly. At my six-week review, after completing the physio programme, I asked if I’d be able to run again. I was delighted to be told that I could, as long as I built it up very gradually as I was otherwise fit and healthy. The care I received was wonderful and I was told that even though I no longer needed physio care I could visit and ask for help anytime over the following year.”

Linda celebrates her run

Linda, who had experience running marathons in the past, began regular running with her daughter, building up the miles slowly around her local area. Gaining strength in her muscles she returned to weekly fitness and weight training classes. She also got back onto her electric bike to build up fitness with less strain on her new knee joint.

Finally, after months of preparation and recovery, on Christmas day 2023, Linda, her daughter and son-in-law Gary completed the Taunton Parkrun 5K and has never looked back.

“At my six-week review, after completing the physio programme, I was delighted to be told that I could run again.”

Linda, Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet knee replacement patient

“It took a while to get confidence in my new knee,” says Linda. “I feel I have been given a gift and a new start and believe if you have a new knee use it! I look to the future and have always said I want to be running when I am 80. Running a regular 5K is part of my lifestyle, and I love the atmosphere of the Parkrun and racing against myself. My time is probably 10 minutes slower than before my surgery, but I’ll get there and don’t want to push myself too hard or cause any injury.”

“I’m delighted to have completed my 117th Park Run and its thanks to my knew knee and a great consultant that I have a new lease of life and can continue to do all the things I enjoy and have recently returned to playing golf!”

Orthopaedic Consultant, Dr Arnaout , Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet, says: “For fit and active patients, we see no reason why they can’t gradually begin gentle jogging again if it’s something that they are used to. With a dedicated recovery programme of physiotherapy which promotes muscle strengthening around the new joint, patients can carry on exercising and doing the hobbies they enjoy. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend every joint replacement patient goes out there and starts running straight away – we assess each patient on an individual basis to see what their goals are and what we feel is possible for them. Each patient is different, but there is certainly no reason for a sedentary life style after joint replacement surgery.”