Eric Boyle who sits on the board of Arthritis Ireland recently underwent knee replacement surgery and kindly agreed to answer some questions about his experience and recovery. Eric became involved with the Arthritis Ireland Louth branch shortly after he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2014. He supports the delivery of the Living Well with Arthritis course, facilitates seated exercise classes and is qualified to teach aqua aerobic classes, both of which he does locally.  


Eric, you recently underwent knee surgery. Can you tell us a little bit about the reasons why you opted for this? 

I have lived with osteoarthritis for over 9 years.  My knee joints had deteriorated to an extent where I was in constant pain.  Knee replacement surgery was the only alternative at this stage.  

Do you expect to need surgery on the other knee in the future? 

Yes, my other knee will need to be replaced, as the osteoarthritis has affected that one as well.  This will probably happen within the next year. 

Did you make any lifestyle changes in advance of surgery? Do you feel that these changes were of benefit to you in your recovery? 

Yes, I did make some lifestyle changes coming up to surgery.  I went on a diet and lost weight, about 5 stone, also I got a lot fitter, I did aqua aerobic classes 4 to 5 times a week, I did a seated exercise class once a week, also I did as much walking as I could. The lifestyle changes that I made were very important in my preparation for my surgery. 

What are the first two-three days post-surgery like in terms of pain and mobility? 

The first two – three days post-surgery were quite difficult. These days are spent in hospital. You are on various medications such as painkillers, blood thinners, laxatives etc. The physiotherapist is getting you out of bed and walking with crutches. You have to get x-rays, scans etc.  All that and trying to eat, sleep, shower and go to the toilet. No joke. 

When you came home from the hospital/clinic, did you need help with everyday tasks? 

Yes, I needed help with most everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning.  As time went on, I was able to do some more everyday tasks for myself. 

Eric, your surgery was about 4/5 weeks ago, so you are still in the early stages of recovery. What are your top tips for someone who is considering surgery or about to undergo surgery? 

  • Get yourself fit, do aqua classes, exercise classes.  

  • Get mentally fit and prepare yourself.  

  • Talk to others that already have had the surgery, attend the hip and knee school to talk to the team, surgeon, nurse, anaesthetist, physiotherapist etc. 

Is there anything you wish you had known beforehand? 

I did everything possible to prepare for the surgery, I understood the seriousness of the surgery and I was prepared for the severe pain with this surgery. 

  • Preparations at home: I bought a new king-size bed and a suitable mattress. I made sure that I had a bed available downstairs in case I wasn’t able to get up the stairs and for my post-surgery exercise during the day. I bought an orthopaedic chair, again I tried them all before I picked one, and a suitable hospital table. I got toilet risers to raise the height of the toilet. I also got a swivel cushion pad for getting in and out of the car. I rearranged the furniture in my sitting room to remove any obstacles for getting about on crutches. As I was going for my surgery on the 20th of November, I did most of my Christmas shopping and I put up my Christmas decorations before going into hospital. 

  • Preparations for hospital: I got pyjamas with short pants and long sleeves for comfort and access to the wound.  I bought slip-on shoes with built-in shoehorn that are easier to put on and take off.  I downloaded some good movies on my phone for watching in hospital. I made sure that I had headphones, phone charger, ear plugs, eye pads, book, puzzle book, pen, and notebook to make my stay in hospital as comfortable as possible.  Also, it’s a good idea to have a small towel or large facecloth for putting over your face when trying to relax. 

  • I have to say that I have the utmost praise for the team in the hospital for making my stay as comfortable as possible. Also, the food was pretty good. 

For more information visit our surgery and arthritis page and our new blog 'Questions to consider when contemplating surgery'.