Ed Balder’s active 40-year career in the paper industry took a toll on his joints. For three years, he lived with the constant pain of having bone-on-bone knees.
“It got so bad that I could walk 15 minutes and then would have to sit because my knees were shot. It was really affecting my quality of life,” said Balder.
The 62-year-old decided it was time for knee replacement surgery. He began asking friends for referrals and found Robert Hoffman, M.D., chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC). In November 2009, Balder had both knees replaced during a single surgery at MUMC. He had had his operation just before Thanksgiving with a goal of being able to walk again by Christmas. The results exceeded his expectations.
“It was spectacular. It changed my life 100 percent,” said Balder. He adds that he was very impressed by the high degree of professionalism at Memorial. His therapists had him out of bed and taking his first steps shortly after surgery. Within three days, he could walk a few steps up and down the hallway on his own. He left MUMC and continued treatment with an in-home physical therapist.
“My therapist said that when it comes to knees, there’s no gain without pain,” laughed Balder. But, he’s quick to add that the pain was bearable.
Within three days, he no longer needed the help of a walker. After a week, he was able to walk a half mile with this therapist. Within two weeks, he had less pain than he’d had before surgery. Today, he’s back to an active, mobile lifestyle.
“Now, I don’t even think about my knees. I can cut the grass, walk, bike, hike, everything. I thought that after surgery I would have reduced knee pain, but I have no knee pain,” said Balder.
Balder’s bilateral knee replacement surgery literally gave him back his life. He encourages anybody considering knee replacement to go for it. It helped him go from a life of pain to a life of freedom and enjoyment.