Osteoarthritis has made getting older a more stressful experience than Miriam Margolyes envisaged. However, simple changes are allowing her to continue to lead the fullest of lives.
Three years ago, celebrated actress, Miriam Margolyes, underwent surgery to replace her troublesome left knee. The pain had got to the stage that she was trying to avoid moving altogether.
“My knee replacement was in May 2016. It is a tremendous success. I have very little, occasional twinges. I have good movement. The only thing I can’t do is go downstairs in an ordinary way – it has to be one at a time. Upstairs I can manage. It’s opened out my life (despite back pain) and now the other knee is asking to be done.”
It limits you and diminishes you. It’s been more of a struggle to remain me than I thought it would be.
If I’m honest, my weight hasn’t helped
Osteoarthritis has made getting older more stressful than she’d hoped, often battling pain in her legs, hands and back. Her weight is also something she admits she struggles with.
“I thought I could carry on being overweight and getting through, but it’s not quite like that,” she said.
“It limits you and diminishes you. It’s been more of a struggle to remain me than I thought it would be.”
However, her inextinguishable passion for life is coupled with an underlying determination to not let her arthritis halt an acting career that continues to flourish, albeit frustratingly late for Margolyes’s liking.
“I’m more popular now than I’ve ever been, it’s just a shame it’s come 30 years too late!”
Exercise has to suit you and your needs
Margolyes says exercise is vital in managing her arthritis, enabling her to live the life she wishes to lead.
She swims and has recently invested in a brand-new exercise bike, while personal training sessions contribute to staying as mobile as she can. Knowing her limits has become increasingly important.
Making the most of your mobility
Margolyes spoke about not letting her condition stop her, but regrets that certain things are now beyond her.
“One aspect I’m experiencing now is the problem of working in the theatre with arthritis pain. I have an energetic role in ‘The Lady in the Van’ and it’s only possible because the stage management help me to climb in and out. If they didn’t, I couldn’t fulfil my role.”
“I would recommend the operation to anyone who needs it. Most important are the exercises, which I did for some months after – and before. Preparation is crucial. My surgeon wouldn’t allow contact with water for some months (although many do have pool work). He feels the danger of infection is high, so wants to protect the knee until it’s fully healed. My scar is straight and tiny. I am very happy I had it done.”