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My story: Gunill-Louise

A knee injury on the slopes and two athroplasties.

Photo of a person in skiwear skiing down a snow covered slope.

The year she turned thirty, Gunill-Louise went on a ski holiday intending to have a lot of fun with her friends. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before she had an accident on the slopes, a knee injury that later in life would cause her serious knee problems.

I wanted to be cool, so I decided to ski off-pist. However, I ended up falling and badly injuring the meniscus in my left knee.

The knee was wrapped with a bandage and Gunill-Louise was told to rest for the remainder of her trip. Back then, in the 80s, there was little knowledge about the importance of exercising an injured knee. Most people who sustained knee injuries were told to rest until the swelling and pain had subsided. Today, we know that exercise after a knee injury is crucial for recovery. Exercising the knee and building strength in the muscles around the knee joint reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future.

Ten years after the traumatic knee injury on the ski slope, Gunill-Louise began to feel pain in her left knee. After a doctor’s visit and an MRI scan, she received the diagnosis that she had developed osteoarthritis in the same knee she had injured years ago. However, that diagnosis was the only information Gunill-Louise took home that day, without any further details about the disease or recommended treatment methods.

Over the years, the pain gradually worsened and I eventually submitted a self-referral, if I wouldn't have done that it feels like I would never have received any help.

 The self-referral led to a knee replacement surgery when it was discovered that the joint disease had progressed significantly. Due to the lack of prior treatment advice, Gunill-Louise’s osteoarthritis had worsened, causing significant problems in her daily life. During the surgery, a partial prosthesis was implanted, significantly improving her quality of life for several years.

However, almost 16 years later, a fall necessitated a second surgery, during which the decision was made to replace the partial prosthesis with a full prosthesis. While the full prosthesis was a lifesaver, it was the knee exercises prescribed by Gunill-Louise’s physiotherapist after the surgery that were crucial for maintaining her knee health. These exercises have been part of her routine since the surgery and will likely continue for the rest of her life.

Gunill-Louise has always been active and enjoys exercising. She now diligently performs knee exercises daily, focusing on both knees. Interestingly, during the second prosthesis surgery, osteoarthritis was also detected in her right knee, which had not been previously injured. 

It was such a big thing to go through the surgeries, that's why I stick to my exercises now. At first I didn't do the exercises with my right knee which led to more pain in that knee. I exercise both my knees everyday now, and will do through out life.  

Her commitment to exercise pays off. Gunill-Louise follows three specific exercises recommended by her physiotherapist, along with regular stretching. Additionally, she visits the gym twice a week for strength training. Her physiotherapist has guided her on proper strength training techniques at the gym.

If I skip my exercise for a few days, both knees start to ache. 

Despite the challenges, after the second prosthesis surgery and consistent exercise to strengthen the muscles around her knee joints, Gunill-Louise manages quite well in her daily life.

She can no longer ski or run, so she has adjusted her exercise routine. In the summer, she kayaks and cycles extensively, and she also takes long walks. Since the new knee surgery, things have been working well for her.

Gunill-Louise emphasizes that early exercise is crucial for managing osteoarthritis and preventing further deterioration. Seeking knowledge about the disease and maintaining a healthy weight are equally important. She stays informed about osteoarthritis and ensures her weight remains within a normal range.

Finally, I have found a good balance to live a fulfilling life despite my osteoarthritis.


The image is generic and not linked to the person in the text.