Josie Lawrence, a 42-year-old comedian and actress residing in East London, UK, has adopted an unconventional training routine for her even more extraordinary walk along the Great Chinese Wall, covering a total of 1,200 miles.
Josie shared with the Daily Mail that before embarking on the walk or commencing her training, she realized the necessity of addressing deep cartilage knee damage, which had been bothering her for years.
A Stiff Upper Lip and a Painful Leg
The issues with Josie’s leg originated after a fall during a rehearsal for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Although Josie knew she had severely injured her leg, a scene required a fake tussle, adding extra strain night after night. Despite being a dedicated actress, she did consult a physiotherapist who managed to alleviate the pain.
In 1998, Josie fell while skiing, twisting her left leg once again. This time, the pain could not be ignored. Nevertheless, she was not one to easily give in.
Josie admits that occasionally the pain became so severe that she was unable to walk. Her knee would click out of place, but she could maneuver it back in. In 2000, Josie appeared in “The King And I,” and at times, she was in so much pain that she had to wear a brace on her leg during scenes that required dancing.
Around that time, Josie decided to join a charity walk for breast cancer research. It was then that she realized to support such causes effectively, she must be in good condition.
Josie explained that the Walk would be the first women-only trek along the Great Chinese Wall, covering approximately 1,200 miles. Her team leader recommended that Josie consult David Johnson, a pioneer in orthopedic surgery.
Surgeon Johnson informed Josie that her condition only required a simple operation, trimming the damaged cartilage and removing “debris.”
He explained that the operation required a keyhole telescope to observe the incisions and very small instruments to remove damaged cartilage.
Josie was told that she could expect to go home the same day. While this took care of the cartilage, the ligament damage presented more complications and a longer recovery time. Josie decided that since this meant she could not participate in the Walk, with the surgeon’s agreement, they would postpone operating on the ligament. She agreed to wear a leg brace to hold the knee in place.
About the Operation
Everything went as planned. Josie mentioned that she was told the sedative she received before the anesthetic apparently motivated her to sing as loud as she could when wheeled into the operating room.
The operation lasted about 30 minutes, and she was off to recovery where she again pleaded for chocolate. Following the chocolate, she devoured a pickle sandwich, lamb cutlets, chicken salad, and more chocolate.
Josie’s surgeon later explained that her body attempted to heal by absorbing the damage. The surgeon then removed the excess, including loose pieces of cartilage.
Josie was released that day after receiving a few exercises and crutches. Four days later, she was on stage performing a comedy routine. Now she admits it was not a wise decision as her leg began to swell, and she experienced pain again. Josie agreed to rest and now feels confident that she will be able to participate in the Walk.
David Johnson, the surgeon, is a consultant orthopedic surgeon for Bristol Hospital. He explained that years ago, before keyhole surgery became a common and successful procedure, orthotropic surgery was a long and complicated process requiring about three months of recovery.
Then, due to the stripping of damaged cartilage that creates a bone-on-bone issue, the patient may again experience arthritic pain in about ten to twenty years.
About the Procedure
The surgeon guides a small telescope called an arthroscope through the knee. Recovery is almost instant. Josie was given a sports knee support made of carbon fiber to stabilize her knee and has begun training for her charity Walk.