Pre Knee Op Fitness Level worry


As I wait for a knee replacement, I am so looking forward to getting my life back. With Pandemic Lockdown & mobility issues the last / years have taken its toll. My husband has taken over the weekly supermarket shop but with Christmas around the corner my mind said get out there & make sure hubby doesn’t have to burden himself with getting all the Christmas goodies by himself & I want to feel part of things again. However, my body appears to have other ideas. I’m so frustrated & a little frightened at how I find it so hard to just wander around a supermarket! It’s not just the pain in my knee it’s more the overall weakness I feel. I don’t get out of breath, I just don’t seem to have enough energy to be active. Is this what it feels like to be really unfit? ( not that I was ever the sporty type).

I worry I’ll never feel normal again. Have I wrecked my health with all this inactivity? Will I really get my life back after this op? When people know I’m having a total knee replacement I hear really positive stories so I’ll hold on to that. I’ve had pre assessments appointments & have been given a clean bill of health. Is this normal to feel so unfit?


  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,743

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that fatigue is a symptom of arthritis and a consequence of pain. Once you are able to be more active when you’ve recovered from the surgery, you can gradually increase how much you do. I’m certain you will feel able to do much more once the healing process is largely over. My sister has two new knees and is an aerobics teacher. Friends with new hips are back to skiing, climbing, fell walking and dancing. Ok, they’re superhuman in my eyes, but even for us mere mortals there will be a big improvement in your quality of life. I’m nearly 2 years post THR and am back on horseback (very carefully) and can manage some longish walks on rough ground again

    Meanwhile, try the exercises in Let’s Move With Leon on this site. They can be as gentle as you need them to be, and will get your body moving again, loosening joints and gently toning up muscles. I found them quite fun too. All being well your fitness and energy levels will improve after surgery, but make sure you do your post op physio!

  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,315

    Hi MissA,

    it's very easy to lose fitness and as Lilymary says the pain from arthritis saps our energy too. Are you familiar with the Spoon Theory?

    Next time you decide to help your husband in the supermarket - use a supermarket mobility scooter and save your spoons!

    Doing the Let's Move with Leon exercises sounds a good idea. Also what sort of things did you do to keep fit before Covid and your arthritis getting worse? Do you like swimming? Even just walking up and down in the baths and doing some simple movements would make a difference.

    They wouldn't have put you forward for an op if your body wasn't fit enough. Being aware that you need to focus on fitness again is the first step.

    No need to answer this - but are you a healthy weight? Not being overweight can really help joints and general fitness. Not easy to lose weight when you have limited mobility, but worth considering if applicable to your situation.


    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,726

    We lose energy and fitness so easily ànd regain it so frustratingly slowly. But there are times when we have little option.

    You have some good advice there from @Lilymary and @speedalong . Try not to fret about it, do what you can and, with determination and dedication, it will return post-op.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,743

    I should add that it’s taken me 2 years to get back on a horse due to unusual complications - I realise that timescale may have sounded pretty depressing to you. But I was up to 6 mile walks about 6 months post op, even with my complications, using a stick for balance and a bit of ooomph when I was getting tired and a couple of paracetamol as bribery and corruption to my wingeing muscles. Don't worry, you’ll get there.

  • Sheelee
    Sheelee Member Posts: 153

    The stress of coping with pain is enough to drain anybody. Though it might help with the pain levels, and the energy levels to introduce a bit more exercise.

    Don't forget housework. It's all exercise. I bought myself a pedometer during lockdown. I still use it. On a day eg cleaning kitchen tops and my wet room, I can do 3000 steps before even opening my front door!! That's what I like about pedometers. They include everything.

    Also swimming is great as a none weight bearing exercise. Consequently you can move with greatly reduced pain, or occasionally pain free, whilst also giving your joints a good move around.

    Hope you don't have to wait too long for your operation.

    Happy New Year,


  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 58

    Thankyou everyone for your comments xx