Post Knee Surgery - The Healing Begins: October 4, 2011

If one bad knee wasn’t bad enough, Chris Naylor had two. When her walk turned to a hobble, she sprang into action.

“It finally reached the point where there was enough crunching bone on bone that is was making life very difficult.”

Chris underwent a staged, bilateral knee replacement. The procedure resurfaces the knee joint, shaving away damaged cartilage and bone. Surgeons cap the resurfaced bones to keep much of the knee intact.

“The good parts stay; the ligaments and the muscles and tendons really; we keep as much of your own parts as we can,” says Dr. Ed Humbert, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

It’s not the surgery itself that solely determines success or failure. Once the surgery is over, the real work begins.

“Physical therapy with knee replacement is very, very important. Even the best implant or knee replacement put in properly and perfectly,  if that patient did very little therapy can become very stiff and very painful,” says Dr. Humbert.

Chris approached her recovery with a sense of purpose, planning a trip to Disney within weeks of her last surgery. She jumped into physical therapy with both feet.

“The day of surgery you’re left alone, the following morning physical therapy starts morning and afternoon, the day after that you are released – it’s also morning and afternoon, you’re sent home, physical therapy calls that evening and they start coming into the home the next day,” says Chris.

“Therapy’s helping your range of motion, it’s progressing and getting your strength back and therapy’s also part in keeping the swelling down,” says Dr. Humbert.

The hard work paid off, Chris’ smile says it all.

“I went to Disney; we did all four parks in three days with two new knees, and I survived wonderfully.”

The rest of her was exhausted, but her rebuilt knees held up fine.