Should I have the metal plates removed 12 months after the Tibial Osteotomy?

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

In December 2018, I was thinking more seriously about going back into hospital to have my plates removed. In the last couple of months I was experiencing more irritation caused by the metal plates in my leg. My surgeon did mention this could happen when during my last consultation. I spent a lot of time thinking the knee pain returned, but simple self investigation by pressing on the affected area, it was clearly in the region of where the metal plates were located. The pain would appear in the following ways:

  1. Swelling beneath the knee area – The remedy was to use ice packs to reduce the swelling.
  2. Itchiness beneath the skin- not much I can do other than trying not to scratch the scar area.

In retrospect I didn’t really feel 100% fully recovered and did experience stiffness and pain in the knee area that was brought on by the following :

  1. Tiredness caused by lack of sleep
  2. Stiffness when sat in the same position in a chair in the office
  3. Excessive exercise such as treadmill running.
  4. Leg pain for standing up too long.

The remedy really was to take painkillers to reduce the swelling and of course, to rest.  In conclusion I saw myself as 70% recovered – still much better than what I was like before the operation. I found my picture below from our family trip to Athens, Greece where I raced my wife on the ancient Olympic track. Who would have thought that Will I run again!

Just the action shot of me running . Ok Loiza beats me at the end

Clearly I can run again!

My thoughts on returning to the hospital were something else….it would be my 3rd operation in 3 years – I was fed up with going into hospital and then taking time out (a good few months) to rehabilitate thereafter. I am softy at the end of the day!

A lot of points to consider…..

Loiza felt I should go ahead with the plate removal. Due to my private health insurance, I would be able to go back to the same private hospital (the OneHatfield) and have the operation done on a day that is convenient for me. It would be silly if I did not do do this.

Well thats it for now….I need to find a simple view/photo of my Tibial Osteotomy showing pre-operation planning and the affects of the surgery. As soon as I find it, I will post it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Coping with Tibial Osteotomy months 8 to 12

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

So our family holiday in August 2018 was amazing, we ate, shopped and visited many attractions around the Chicago lakeside area. Going for a bike ride on the lakeside was my favourite experience.

We were lucky that our hotel had an indoor basketball court ( well, Chicago is home of the Bulls) so I was really able to test out the progress of my recovery and it was a success! I was able to play 1on1 with my son – run, jump, turn and shoot and it felt great!. We were in Chicago for 10 days and we played every other day. It had been over 2 years since I was able to engage in a physical sport in that manner, so this was a massive achievement for me.

In terms of strength building I was able to spend longer in the gym and I felt stronger than possibly 2 years ago. I was making a real effort to lose weight and to change my diet. Over the summer I did notice that if I drink alcohol, I do felt aches and pains the day after – so the message here is to drink sensibly ! 🙂

As the UK weather in autumn/ early winter changes to being colder and damp, I noticed the metal work causing me pain in the areas where the plates and screws were.

Sometimes there was swelling in the area and soreness around the scar but taking ibuprofen eased the pain.

Oh and in October, we decided to have a short holiday in Athens, Greece. Strong recommendation from me and the family!

To get to the Acropolis you negotiate a steep climb and in places, over uneven surfaces. Great fun!


Positive change post Tibial Osteotomy – 6 months on…

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

I did get the chance to visit Chicago in the summer. Perfect weather!

By June 2018, I was signed off my Physio. He felt I made good enough progress to get my life back to a normal state and gave me some tough exercises to continue with. This was coupled with my surgeons recommendation to return on the 12 month operation anniversary (Jan 2019) to have the metal plates removed. This is a big deal as it means the cycle of pain in the knee could be reaching its end point. A weird part of me wanted to keep the metalwork in my leg as its a great conversation opener or filler (“I have a bionic leg”) however I was experiencing the odd skin irritation or swelling where the plates were located. Mr Chatoo (Surgeon) did mention a number of patients having the same experience. I set my mind to return in January for the final operation.

The gym workouts were going well. I was able to run 5k on the treadmill, lift and pull leg weights that was a clear improvement to pre-operation. I kept to a routine of fitness as well as cutting down on my alcohol intake and losing as much weight as possible, through healthier eating.

In July, I had to take time out from work to help my parents. My dad went into hospital to undergo a Quadruple Heart Bypass operation.

My dad is doing well 12 months on but it was a very tough time for my immediate family. Thank you to the NHS!

At the end of August and as a family, we decided to spend our 10 day summer vacation in Chicago, Illinois. For a Brit living under the cloud of Brexit some destinations were becoming very expensive and we felt that Chicago was a great location and is excellent value for money. Also we booked at the last minute and found a great value deal.

I felt much more confident in travelling and doing more outdoor activities; a real turning point as I felt my confidence was coming back.

Yes, there are some great beaches on the lakeshore. Fresh water also!

6 month check up after Tibial Osteotomy

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

So in late April 2018, I went on an overseas business trip to Detroit, Michigan and stopped over at Chicago on both legs of the journey. I would strongly advise to call your airline to explain your condition and request assistance – it takes a lot of stress out of the travel.

After my surgery, I had booked 12 physio sessions with the One Hatfield hospital (https://www.onehealthcare.co.uk/hatfield/) and had completed 10 of the sessions; I tried to keep to a visit every 2 weeks and the physio ensured he pushed me hard with challenging exercises. Here are a few that I still do today:

  • Bosu Ball – hop on and hop off on both legs
  • Strengthen calf muscles – slow raises holding a weight dumbell. Alternate on both legs
  • Strengthen hamstring with leg raises and using resistance from a large (elastic) band
  • Lunge exercises
  • On the treadmill, jog – I am now getting to 5km
  • Cycling
  • All leg weight training in the gym.

It is fantastic that I am exercising a lot more. It helped with the swelling being reduced (not using icepacks as much), stamina and my mental health.

May 2nd 2018 marked the 6 month review with my surgeon Mr Minhal Chatoo. I was booked in to have an x-ray prior to my consultation.

He had received feedback from my physio and so he knew I had been pushing myself. He then took me through some strength tests and was pleased. He then shared the X-ray results (below)

He explained the bone healing was progressing as planned and filling out correctly. He also mentioned the correction was 97% accurate to his planning.

Within the blue circle you can see the faint grey – bone growth.

I shared the following concerns I had over the last 6 months:

  • Swelling does flare up from time to time . RESPONSE – the bone is still healing, it will when tiredness sets in.
  • Feeling pain that feels similar to that prior to the operation. RESPONSE – irritation can be caused by the metalwork and that can swell, so the pain is really where the metal is located on the leg.
  • I had lost sensation from the front of my leg (shin). RESPONSE – the operation is intrusive and some nerves are affected. He recommended I keep track but no action to be taken as it was not affecting my day to day life. Nerve endings need time to heal, so the sensations may eventually come back.

He recommended I should not hold back and get back to full activity (other than playing football and hard surface running) BUT also to lose as much weight as possible, At 6ft tall, I was 110 kg and had dropped to 105 kg – he recommended to get to 96 kg for body longevity.

My surgeon then recommended the following :

  1. book in for a 12 month review
  2. plan for the removal of the metal plates as a ‘day case’

Flying post Osteotemy and managing pain in the USA

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

In April 2018 I traveled on business from London, UK to Detroit, USA – a journey with 2 connecting flights and over 15 hours of combined travel time.

I do like the F250 type truck, this one will do also!

In my previous blog, I forgot to mention that I continued taking pain killers such as standard Ibuprofen, Paracetamol (when needed) and calcium tablets. The purpose was to manage the pain; after 3.5 months, the swelling and pain was still prevalent, advice from the Physio was to take the tablets when needed; pain management is key, you cannot be a hero as the healing process is still ongoing.

So on the flight over, I did not sleep, I kept moving on the aircraft. I decided to work on my laptop standing up and it really worked. When I landed in Chicago (1st stop) I was able to walk OK and the swelling was not bad. I did get some assistance from ground staff, which was great. At my next check in for my flight to Chicago, I boarded first, placed my crutch in the compartment above my seat and rested up. The rest of the journey from the Airport to the hotel was uneventful.

As soon as I did get to my hotel room (around 2pm), I crashed for a few hours and then drank a lot of water. Again, no pain!

A fancy head, in a restaurant!

As I adjusted to the timezone and to the extended work day, pain management and rest was key. The key thing was not to slack off but to keep to the routine to date. I was also conscious of not acting like I was a special needs case – If I needed to use the crutch I would otherwise I would try to walk and ensure my posture was correct. Its so easy to get back pains, impact the good knee or develop hip joint pains; a symptom of overcompensating.

I have seen this building in a movie shot in Detroit, the city is changing by the way; more gentrified

Physio improving; getting ready for flight overseas

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

By continuing physio exercises at home every day is making a big difference. I took advice from the Physio and bought a Bosu Ball.

Amazon.com is the best place to get a Bosu Ball

Among previous strength building exercises were :

  • walking up and down stairs holding the banister
  • simple lunges
  • balancing on 1 leg

Using the Bosu Ball , the key exercises I practiced were:

  • Stand on 1 leg and balance (as the image below) – this is good to build up core strength. Alternate on your legs as you would have lost strength on your good leg.
  • Jump and hop onto the Bosu ball and then jump off – this is harder the first time, but the shock impact is needed to build core strength.
No, its not me, but shows what is needed

I gradually built strength in my legs so I could stop using the single crutch. In part I used the crutch as a “”safety blanket” as I had restarted my commute into work ( a 20 minute train ride to Kings Cross, London) and had to make my self visible to keep people at distance and not bump into me. However I also found that by the end of the working day, my leg was painful; I still needed the crutch.

At the start of May I had to travel to Detroit for business – this would mean 2 flights to get to my destination; London to Chicago (7.5 hrs) and then Chicago to Detroit (1.5 hours). Three weeks before my travel, I met with my Physio and asked for advice on how to stay on top of things and he recommended the following:

  • Take at least one of the crutches to help in case I get tired
  • Keep moving my leg by walking around
  • Don’t sleep for too long on the flight
  • Drink lots of water

I was flying with British Airways from Heathrow Terminal 5. I decided to park my car at the POD car park. You get a driverless car taking you straight into the airport terminal. As my flight was at 8am, the the whole airport was quiet at 5am. At the baggage check-in desk, I was advised to call a service line after security check-in so that a porter can take me to the terminal in a wheelchair.

Security was simple as the staff helped me pass through the scanners. When I met with the porter, he wheeled me across the large terminal; he warned me that people are ignorant to people in wheelchairs and he was not wrong! So many people are in a dreamland state and either do not move for you or bump into you – and its your fault!

Anyway, the nice chap helped me board the aircraft as one of the first passengers and the BA hostess gave me an aisle seat within a row where I had nobody sitting next to me. At least I could stretch out. Great job BA!

In my next blog, I’ll share my time on the plane, the connecting flight out of Chicago onto Detroit and the state of my knee.

Until the next blog!

Tibial Osteotomy photo review – Post op to 6 weeks after. Part 2

In January 2018, I underwent a Tibial Osteotomy at the One Hatfield Hospital in the UK. I had been suffering from the onset of arthritis on my right knee and needed a solution that would avoid a knee replacement operation and get my life back to some level of normality.

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As a follow on from last weeks blog, I am sharing photos taken from pre-op to 6 weeks after. During the process of finding the pictures after 12 months and knowing that I am much better now, it does bring memories back of the journey of recovery and change. When you are in the moment, it is tough but as I noted in a previous blog, the human bodies capability to repair is incredible. The is light at the end of the tunnel!

Day 3- 5 Swelling and bruising


#After 3-5 days, expect bruising and discoloring to appear – the healing process

Days 6-8 I want to remove the bandaging!!

So in total I have 16 metal clips. Awesome!

Days 14 Metal Clips are out

Removal of clips are not that painful. Now I can think about Physiotherapy

Week 5-6 and the wound is healing well!

Healing in progress and Physio kicking in.

I hope the helps you out there. If you have any questions shoot me a message. See you next week!