Back on my feet: Ian’s recovery following a knee arthroscopy

Rugby player Ian struggled to even walk after a historical injury reared its head. But his recovery would help turn his lifestyle around.

As a young lad Ian played rugby for RFU Championship team Plymouth Albion. While his interest waned for a few years as he explored other sports, rugby has always been his chosen sport and he later returned to the team.

Now at 33 his job working on the tug boats at the Ministry of Defence facility on Plymouth Docks is equally physically demanding.

“It keeps me busy alright,” he says. “I’ve been there for 12 years now bringing home the navy vessels and supplying them with fuel barges. Come rain or shine we’re there pulling them in.” So when Ian suffered a painful injury during a rugby match in September last year, he feared for both his rugby and his livelihood.

“I got my injury in a pre-season training session. I was running for the ball and landed heavy. Something popped in my knee and I collapsed on the floor. I knew something bad had happened.

“I had injured myself about 10 years previously when I was on holiday playing football of all sports. That time too I had collapsed on the floor with a lot of pain in the back of my leg. I went to the local hospital and they diagnosed it as a hamstring injury and put me on crutches for a month. But I knew it wasn’t right and it had never been right since.”

This time Ian got injured he was referred to Simon Coleridge, Orthopaedic Consultant at Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, who assessed his injury and sent Ian for an MRI.

His scans confirmed Ian’s suspicions that the historical injury was more than just a hamstring injury - he had arthritis, torn cartilage and acute ligament damage, a combination of wear from high impact sport and the historical injury.

“Ian’s restrictions following injury were quite marked actually,” says Simon. “Not only from a work point of view, or the inability to play rugby but socially it was really limiting him. His knee was giving way and it was painful, so it was quite a struggle for him.”

Taking into account Ian’s lifestyle Simon’s recommended treatment for Ian was a keyhole knee arthroscopy followed by a free 12-week recovery programme called Recovery Plus. Ian had his operation shortly after his consultation and progressed with the physiotherapy, gym sessions and lifestyle changes encouraged by the Recovery Plus programme.

“Recovery Plus has been a godsend to be honest. My injury was very debilitating, I had my dog and I couldn’t walk, going down hills was particularly hard. And I couldn’t work so I gained a lot of weight. Recovery Plus has given me the strength back in my knee and it’s led me to join the gym and get a personal trainer who has helped me gain back some of my fitness and lose weight.

“My next challenge is to lose some more.”

Last updated Tuesday 7 January 2020

First published on Wednesday 19 August 2015