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Ask The Expert

Injuries & Surgery: Knee Injuries

Jonathan Bell
Jonathan Bell
Jonathan specialises in knee surgery, but he can advise on a wide range of sports injuries.
Question:
My wife has had her knee washed out by keyhole surgery and was told she couldn't ski anymore is this true?
Answer:
Case Study
My wife is 64 years old.
She has very little cartilage left.
The knee has been graded at 4.
I understand that arthritis was the cause.

Jonathan's Advice

It sounds to me as though your wife has osteoarthritis (wear and tear) of the knee. Osteoarthritis does not always cause pain but when it does start to cause pain it can be very difficult to get it to settle down again.

Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) can help but not always. If the knee pain settles and she can build her strength up and maintain flexibility she may get away with skiing. If she can ski without a significant increase in her symptoms then I doubt she is doing a great deal of harm. Any risk of advancing the need for a replacement is likely to be relatively small when compared to the 64 years taken to reach this stage.

Any increased risk needs to be balanced against how important it is to live an active life. She needs to discuss these points with her surgeon who should be prepared to discuss the various risks with her.

If the knee remains painful then she will be faced with giving up skiing or considering joint replacement. It is possible to ski in many cases after replacing the knee and I have many patients who do so.

Ski de Fond may be easier on the knees.

Jonathan is based at Wimbledon Clinics.

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