Eric's story: surgery for arthritis got me back to sport

In 2016, Eric, a company director in London, started feeling extreme knee pain, causing everyday activities to become more difficult, and taking part in his favourite sports almost impossible. “I couldn’t ski without pain for more than an hour a day, I had given up playing squash, and badminton and I was unable to play more than four holes of golf without the pain setting in.”

Eric started on his search to find a diagnosis and became increasingly frustrated with the various opinions he sought “I spent a lot of time and money trying to get my problem diagnosed and was repeatedly given the same message that my knee was arthritic and that I should (at my age) give up active sport in order to manage the pain.

Eric was determined he wouldn’t take no for an answer, refusing to be consigned to the view that it was untreatable and on further talks, his physiotherapist referred him to the Fortius Clinic, for an appointment with orthopaedic knee consultant Mr Sam Church. 


Investigations and tests confirmed that Eric had arthritis in his knee, however Sam felt that rather than simply managing the pain, they could explore treatment options with the ultimate aim of returning Eric to the sports that he loved. Badminton, squash and skiing are all ‘high torque’ sports and patients are often advised to give up after a knee replacement as there can be a risk of early loosening.

It has given me the opportunity to return to almost the complete active life I had before the problems materialised. In short, having the operation has effectively given me my life back.


Sam advised Eric that if he didn’t address the knee now, he would likely require a knee replacement in the near future. After consideration, Eric decided he wanted to go ahead. Tests revealed that his arthritis was localised however only to outside of the knee, which suggested he may be a suitable candidate for an operation after which high torque sports are allowed called a closing wedge high tibial osteotomy. This is a relatively rare operation in which a wedge of bone is removed from the tibia in order to create a slightly bowed leg which takes the weight off the arthritis on the outside of the knee.


A year following his operation, Eric is back playing the sports he loves.

Since the operation I am able to ski for longer, playing 18 holes of golf are little or no problem, I have returned to playing a decent level of competitive badminton and although squash has been the hardest to get back to because of the amount of sideways movement involved, I am hopeful that given a little more time and some more strengthening of my adductors and abductors this too will not prove beyond me. In short, having the operation has effectively given me my life back.

Sam was equally impressed with Eric’s incredible recovery, “Eric was clearly a highly motivated individual so we took the decision to proceed; the fact that he won the silver medal in his age group at the World Badminton Championships less than a year after the operation is a great testament to his fitness and his determination.”