All through my life I’ve been preventing the immobility that rheumatoid arthritis could cause. Particularly throughout my childhood I keep in mind hours and hours of joint and vary of movement workouts. It felt like a relentless battle cry: “should not let me get locked joints!”
Sadly, I’ve had extreme RA for practically 40 years now and have accrued vital joint harm. A lot of my joints have very restricted movement and several other are pretty locked into place. I’ve lengthy regretted my joint limitations because it has made a number of actions tougher or created disabilities. However I believe I could have been too hasty, as a result of just lately I thought-about that there could also be shocking, sudden advantages to a locked joint.
The story begins with my knee replacements at age 15. Whereas the surgical procedures vastly lowered my ache from RA, I struggled towards scar tissue that restricted the vary of movement I used to be capable of obtain in restoration. I even had a scar tissue elimination surgical procedure, but it surely simply grew again. My proper knee had some movement, however my left knee solely had a couple of levels—it was nearly locked.
Whereas I couldn’t climb mountains or run, my knees received me via greater than 20 years. Just a few years in the past I needed to bear a revision on the left knee alternative as a consequence of an an infection.
Surprisingly, my surgeon was capable of vastly enhance the mobility of my knee with rather more flexion and near-perfect straightening. I lastly had the knee that I’d all the time wished!
Sadly, I wanted a wholesome set of quadriceps muscle tissue to actually make the knee work and after 20 years of atrophy they simply didn’t totally come again. One in every of my quad muscle tissue is just too small and weak to assist me straighten the leg. Whereas I can lengthen, I can’t maintain the leg straight. This implies it will possibly buckle whereas standing and strolling, if I’m not cautious. Once I do a leg carry, my knee bends as a result of I can’t maintain it straight. My decrease leg falls after I slide it up and about within the morning.
Getting used to locked joints
In my every day life, it isn’t a giant deal. I’ve discovered to manage. However I discover it shocking that I miss my locked knee joint! Positive, it was a problem, but it surely additionally was tremendous secure after I was standing and strolling. I might carry my leg and was simply used to having it locked. I wasn’t afraid it could give out on me, as a result of it had nowhere to go! Unusual what we will get used to!
Whereas locked joints clearly limit movement and trigger limitations, they can be extremely secure and supportive. I suppose it’s a catch-22 in my case. Whereas I all the time wished extra movement, I don’t have the muscle tissue to help it. In fact, the very best reply is to not have RA, joint harm, and muscle atrophy! However that’s sadly not my state of affairs.
If I ought to want another joint alternative revision surgical procedures, I’ll as an alternative ask the surgeon to maintain the identical quantity of joint mobility, if in any respect potential. I do know that my muscle tissue and different tender tissues have tailored to my situation and it’s not affordable to ask them to flex that a lot to regulate to expanded mobility. For my state of affairs, I’d want sticking to my present talents as a lot as potential. I actually don’t need to lose something, but in addition want the soundness that my locked joints present.
It’s positively a shock to have skilled the draw back of extra joint mobility! It was not anticipated or within the surgical plan, however I’m having fun with a wholesome knee and might’t have any regrets about that.