92-Year-Old Back to Biking after Knee Replacement Surgery
Billy Hutchings of Crest Hill is proof that age is just a number! At 92, this non-stop nonagenarian is always on the go. He bikes; he walks; and he loves to shoot pool.
So when he started experiencing knee pain, Hutchings was eager to find a fix.
“I have been active my whole life - I played soccer when I lived in England and participated in athletics. I still enjoy going for bike rides outside,” he explained. “I didn’t want my recent troubles with my knee to slow me down. I shoot pool several times a week, it gets me out of the house and it’s a chance to socialize.”
The most common cause of knee pain in older adults is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the deterioration of joint cartilage and surrounding bone in the knees. When osteoarthritis in the knees becomes severe, people find normal activities such as walking or going up stairs painful.
“Daily activities were becoming difficult and I couldn’t walk as far; my knee started to feel weak and I was fearful of falling. That’s when I knew I had to see a doctor and get this resolved,” said Hutchings.
Exploring Options for a New Knee
Hutchings did some research about knee replacement and decided he wanted a physician using the newest technology. His research led him to Rajeev Puri, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on staff at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Dr. Puri specializes in knee replacement surgery and is also affiliated with the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross.
“Mr. Hutchings is not your typical knee replacement candidate due to his age, so his problem was approached with a great deal of thought. After discussing all possible scenarios and receiving feedback from Billy and his family, it was decided to proceed with the surgery,” Dr. Puri said.
Hutchings had a knee replacement in the opposite knee a few years ago and though he remembered his recovery being difficult, he felt he was up to having another replacement.
“The reason why this surgery was easier for Mr. Hutchings is due to the advancements in medical technology and anesthesia over the past few years. The anesthesia team at Silver Cross Hospital is at the forefront of anesthesia techniques. This allows the physical therapy team to get patients up and walking soon after surgery which helps the recovery process,” stated Puri.
Hutchings, who was discharged just two days after surgery, was thrilled to recuperate at home with some help from his daughter. Since he had very little pain, he was an eager participant in his outpatient physical therapy sessions with a positive attitude from beginning to end.
“In my practice, I have had the great good fortune of meeting patients (and families) that are truly unique for one thing or another. Billy Hutchings is a patient like that. He and his caring family were wonderful to meet; they were like a team; we made our decisions together, and Billy was the most important member of the team in executing the plan. When he came in walking at four weeks like he never had surgery, I think everyone in the room agreed that he is an inspiration,” said Puri.
Hutchings said the power of positive thinking and his will to resume an active lifestyle were all the motivation he needed to get better.
“I believe in mind-over-body when it comes to healing. Before I went in for the surgery with Dr. Puri, I kept repeating to myself ‘you’re going to be better.’ Positive thinking is the best way to heal. You’ve got to keep your chin up and carry on!” said Hutchings.
“I am so thankful how the hospital staff cared for me – from Dr. Puri and his surgical team to all the nurses and staff at Silver Cross Hospital. Since my surgery I have shared my story with friends in need of their own knee replacement and are too afraid to have it done. I tell them about my experience every chance I get!” said Hutchings.