A New Lease on Life: How Knee Replacement Surgery Empowered a Fireman to Keep on Fighting

Surgery allowed him to keep fighting

(Editor’s note: This content is provided by DePuy Synthes, a Next Avenue sponsor.)

Eric Jones has never let a challenge slow him down.

For more than 20 years, Jones has been a volunteer firefighter for the city of Somers Point, N.J. However, in 1983 when he was just 11 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer and lost his right leg, meaning that every fire he fought or life he saved after that was done with a prosthetic leg. He’s never let this hardship discourage him or prevent him from doing the job he set out to do.

Despite his unquestionable perseverance, years of pressure on one leg led to wear and tear on his knee.

 “I tore my meniscus and nurtured that for a few years,” Jones said. “Then, after the pain got to the point where I just couldn’t take it any more – I was actually taking out my trash one day, and I couldn’t walk back – I realized I had to do something.”

This pivotal moment of peak physical and emotional pain pushed Jones to consult a surgeon about his options, which is where he learned about knee replacement options including the ATTUNE® Knee System.

“When I was talking to my surgeon, my short-term goal was to get rid of the pain. My long-term goal was to get back to being a volunteer fireman – fighting fires, driving trucks – things like that.” Jones explained. “My experience with my doctor was pretty personal because I only had one leg. Things had to go smoothly.”

Together, Jones and his doctor decided knee replacement would be his best option. Jones was confident surgery was what he needed to be up and moving again. He was right.

Not long after surgery, Jones could see the results. He had worked hard at prescribed physical therapy and rehabilitation and then resumed work on his own at the gym to continue strengthening his knee.

“After surgery, it was a game changer,” Jones said. “The pain has gone away.”

The procedure not only changed Jones’ physical mobility, but the lifestyle changes it brought altered his outlook on life and what he’s capable of doing. Before his surgery, he explained how unhappy he felt with his inability to stand or walk very far due to extreme pain. Now, a year after surgery, Jones is back to his daily routine and is no longer restricted by knee pain.

“After my knee surgery, there’s no pain, no limitations,” he said. “I am back to doing everything that I used to do years ago.”

Jones’ return to a mobile lifestyle has also allowed him to achieve personal milestones.

“The biggest milestone since I’ve had my surgery is being a volunteer fireman again; back to standing for long periods of time, back to walking on the boardwalk, back to riding a bike – back to my daily life,” said Jones.

“The next goal that I have set for myself is to lose weight. I know weight is an issue with me, especially only having one leg. I’m happy that the knee worked out and things are back to normal.”

The barriers Jones faced have been lifted. A life without knee pain equates to the freedom to not only set personal goals, but to actually achieve them – an idea that, several years ago, Jones simply didn’t think was possible.

It’s important to remember that the performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have these surgeries. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine if knee replacement is necessary based on an individual patient’s condition.

For more information and to hear more stories from people who have received the ATTUNE Knee System, visit www.ATTUNEKnee.com.

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