Tips To Deal With The Cancellation of your Surgery Due to the Coronavirus Crisis
Millions of patients across the world awaiting knee surgery, particularly knee replacement surgery, now face delays to their treatment after many public hospitals have postponed routine operations. While most emergency cases will still go ahead, non-urgent operations are being be postponed indefinitely.
While no one knows how long this will last, the next three months at least are critical. Postponing non-urgent operations is a key strategy that will free up hospital beds which can be used for patients left seriously unwell, often with breathing difficulties, as a result of COVID-19.
While no one would argue against the move, it does leave millions not knowing when they will receive the operation they need. Alternatives are not plentiful for these persons, with even private hospitals shoring up resources for a possibly protracted COVID-19 fight. These are factors beyond your control if you're affected. However, if you are affected, there are things you can you do in the meantime to ease symptoms or make life easier.
According to Uzo Ehiogu, a physiotherapist at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham England, patients who face a further delay for their procedure shouldn’t panic. "By definition, if you need a hip or knee replacement, you will already have significant degeneration of the joint caused by osteoarthritis," he says. "Joint replacements are only offered as a last resort to improve patients’ quality of life as an artificial knee or hip is never as good as a natural one. However, waiting a few extra months for the operation, won’t make the osteoarthritis worse."
There are two simple exercises you can do at home that can help. These strengthen the muscles around the knee or hip and help maintain the range of movement in the joint, potentially easing the pain as you wait for surgery. The first involves going from sitting to standing. This can be repeated five to ten times, once or twice a day. For the second exercise, sit on a chair and then straighten and bend the leg. Again, this can be repeated five to ten times on each leg, once or twice a day.
Walking with a stick can also help reduce pain as this off-loads pressure from the painful joint. Other ways to alleviate pain are to take prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, get plenty of sleep, and eat a balanced diet. A cold compress on the affected joint can also be used to help manage pain.
Remember, you are not alone. Other procedures such as cataract surgery and hernia repair, among many others, have also been postponed. You are fortunate in that there are steps you can take to cope until such a time as your surgery can be rescheduled. In these times, we must all adopt a positive outlook, cope as we can, and protect our health against the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay strong and stay safe!