Refused surgery due to weight

I finally saw a consultant after a year long wait only to be told that my although I need a knee replacement it cannot go ahead due to my being overweight. I am feeling really depressed about this as even walking to the bus stop is challenging and painful, I have been offered no support or help apart from a vague promise of a steroid injection (I don’t hold out much hope of this helping as I paid for one in January and it only made a marginal difference. My interests are travel and gardening both of which are on hold due to my OA. Has anyone else been in this position and what did you do?


  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 283

    Hi @Lambourne,

    You describe a very common scenario and many Arthritis sufferers find themselves facing the same dilemma needing to exercise and do physio without it aggravating their condition or hurting too much.

    The simple answer I think is pain management, get your condition under control and then (in theory) you'll be able to get out and about to exercise, etc.

    I obviously don't know what meds you're on but this link goes to a section of the website where you can read up on the options for managing your pain: and what dietary changes could help with both your Arthritis as well as lose weight in the process.

    If you're not already on medication then the most commonly-prescribed anti-inflammatory for OA is Naproxen and Co-Codemol for the pain, both GP prescribed. There's a wealth of others for RA sufferers.

    I have bone-on-bone severe Arthritis and due for a double total knee replacement but thanks to diet, meds, supplements and aids such as knee supports and a TENS machine I am able to exercise every day and do physio so it is entirely possible but a lot of it is down to us and individuals.

    Hope this helps,


  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 390

    @Lambourne I feel for you. It’s almost a vicious self fulfilling cycle. You can’t easily lose weight because your arthritis limits your movement, and you can’t get the joint replacement to restore your movement because the procedure only works below a certain weight limit.

    Perhaps what unintentionally worked for me might work for you, and without being active as I was in so much pain at the time.

    Despite my having been way overweight for decades, my adaptation to RA caused me to lose so much weight that I was at my teenage ideal weight in 6 months. Not hungry either.

    I found that the biggest contributor to weight loss is what you eat, or rather, don’t eat, and knowing what will trigger hunger and an irresistible urge to eat.

    This happened to me twice, so the first time was when I was newly diagnosed and in great pain. I was willing to try anything to be rid of the pain. Nightly cold gel wraps round my knees, elbows and gel slippers & gloves stored in the freezer before applying each night. It was miserable. Then I read somewhere that a veggie green smoothie diet would help alleviate the pain, as well as reducing sugar & gluten. I was willing to try anything, the pain had dispatched my sweet tooth and interest in the morning fry up.

    So in addition to buying an electric can opener, pepper & spice grinder swapping my taps for levers, (I had no grip strength and hobbled around with a walking stick) I bought a blender and I would start with a smoothie consisting of rocket, broccoli and lettuce with ground spices to give it some taste. 1 litre worth. That would make me full. After a week I noticed I was no longer hungry or interested in pastries, my panettone boxes, chocs, Jaffa cakes, bread or any of the usual highly desirable carbs. Plus the smoothie was no big effort and cheap. I’d buy the fresh veg, wash it and keep it in the fridge. Later I learnt it worked even better if I froze the veg pieces before adding them to the blender.

    The weight loss was miraculous and predictable, ie I would lose weight at a steady predictable rate, not feel hungry and didn’t end up with loose skin either (either because it was veggie based or because it was slow over 6 months). Kept it off for months. Sadly once the pain subsided as the DMARDs kicked in, I went back to the pizzas & cakes and started gaining again. Fast forward to now, I am going to do what worked again, to get myself back to my ideal weight, but this time keep it off!

    I hope you can find something that works for you.