Edgar F Former Kickboxer Back in Action After Knee Replacement

After a knee replacement at RWJUH Rahway, Edgar Fernando Munoz is ready to get back to teaching mixed martial arts and riding his Harley.

Edgar Fernando Munoz, 56, knows all about meeting challenges.

“I began kickboxing at age 20 and then started training and competing in Muay Thai, a type of kickboxing that involves fighting,” explains Edgar, who no longer practices the sport but has taught mixed martial arts at a local police academy. “I competed in several world championships and won many awards, but my knee has paid a price for the glory.”

Over time, the constant blocking and direct blows to Edgar’s left knee resulted in severe osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition in which the smooth cushion between bones (cartilage) breaks down.

After suffering knee pain and increasing disability for 10 years, the 56-year-old grandfather of six underwent a total knee replacement at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Rahway.

The surgery had been scheduled for March, but the COVID-19 crisis suspended elective surgeries for a time. In June, much to Edgar’s relief, joint replacement surgery resumed.

“The hospital called to reschedule and I immediately said yes,” says Edgar. “I could no longer swim, bike or walk my dog, and I couldn’t wait to get back to those things.”

At RWJUH Rahway, joint replacement patients attend a pre-surgery education class to learn about the surgery, as well as to prepare for recovery and therapy goals.

In June, Edgar had his knee replacement, and the next day he began both occupational and physical therapy while he was still in the hospital.

Therapy Goals

In occupational therapy (OT), the focus is on activities of daily living and self-care, explains Betty Llamos, Occupational Therapist for RWJUH Rahway.

“Knee replacement patients have to relearn how to do everyday things—like getting in and out of bed and managing in the kitchen—safely in order to protect their new joint.”

Most joint replacement patients have two OT sessions per day while they are in the hospital, she explains, but Edgar progressed to independence in one session.

“We were thrilled that he made such rapid progress,” Llamos says.

Edgar also began physical therapy (PT) the day after his surgery and continued as an outpatient for three sessions a week.

“Each person in our outpatient PT program receives individualized attention and stays with the same physical therapist during the two to three months of the program,” explains Mario Aliguyon, Physical Therapist for RWJUH Rahway.

“In general, during the first two weeks, a patient can expect to perform light exercises to protect the incision and to do specific exercises at home. After about six weeks, we progress to resistance and strengthening exercises.

“Edgar never quits, even though stretching is painful,” Aliguyon continues. “His motivation and positive attitude will help him achieve his goals.”

“I am so grateful to the RWJUH Rahway team for their expertise, compassion, and encouragement,” says Edgar. “It feels great to live life again.”

Learn more about the Joint Replacement Center at RWJUH Rahway, or call (888) 724-7123 or visit our Contact Us page to request an appointment.
To learn about outpatient physical and occupational therapy at RWJUH Rahway, call (732) 499 6012.