'Keep moving and do what you like best'
New knees can't slow June Knudtson down
Age may be a number but for retired nurse June Knudtson, of La Crosse, age is also an attitude.
"I've always had a very high energy level. I can't stop moving," says June who, at age 80, walks 10,000 steps a day and lives independently. She also does all of her own housework, actively volunteers in the community and drives several of her close friends to appointments.
June doesn't take this active lifestyle for granted. She admits that if weren't for her new knees, her life would look very different.
"My knee problems go back 20 years. At my worst, the pain kept me awake at night. Both knees were shot [due to osteoarthritis]," she recalls.
On Jan. 27, 2010, Gundersen Health System Orthopedic surgeon Andrew Saterbak, MD, replaced June's left knee, followed by her right knee—exactly four years later—on Jan. 27, 2014.
"I've always been a proponent of taking care of a problem so you can enjoy life. I've had zero pain or discomfort since the surgeries. I can enjoy my family when we are together and participate in many activities with them," June says.
Total knee replacement surgery is a decision she will never regret. However, June is quick to point out that having a knee replaced is not a walk in the park. She offers this advice:
Be prepared to work hard. "Your physical therapist will be your best friend, even if you are not sure at the time. There is pain associated with the exercise regimen; however, listen and do the exercises. It will be well worth the effort," she notes.
Plan ahead. Most patients having knee replacement surgery at Gundersen spend one night in the hospital and continue their recovery at home. June took the advice of the Orthopaedic Surgery team and prepared her home well in advance. "The raised toilet seat, handrails, grab bars and walk-in shower were particularly helpful for a safe recovery in my home. If you plan ahead, it's not an urgent and stressful thing."
Find a recovery buddy. June's greatest challenge after surgery was the restriction on driving. "I have a difficult time asking for help," admits June, who is usually the one doing for others. "With my first surgery, my [late] husband drove me to physical therapy appointments. But with the second surgery, I had to rely on my friends to get me to and from physical therapy."
Stay focused on the end result. "The pain can be intense during therapy but it goes away. Keep moving and do what you like best." For June, that means enjoying the great outdoors, walking in her neighborhood, gardening, volunteering and enjoying the company of family and friends.
"I have great respect for the care we can receive at Gundersen. It's incredible to have it right at your back door. I would not be doing what I'm doing today without them," she says.
Gundersen Orthopedic specialists can help you get back to an active lifestyle—whether you've been injured or have chronic joint pain. Learn how you can schedule an appointment close to home.