Knee Replacement at Mercy Gets Monk Back on a Bicycle

October 11, 2022

Anthony Pierce, a Benedictine monk in Subiaco, Arkansas, didn’t start biking until later in life, but that didn't mean he was willing to give up a favorite hobby when knee pain became a problem. 

After walking with a cane for a year and a half, the 62-year-old monk, who joined Subiaco Abbey in 1996, met with Dr. Justin Clayton at Mercy Clinic Orthopedics – River Valley for an evaluation.

“I was having a lot of pain before knee replacement surgery, and it was only getting worse,” said Pierce, who is known as Brother Anthony. “I knew it was just a matter of time. I walked with a cane because the pain was so great.”

Although his initial consultation was for pain in one knee, Brother Anthony’s other knee was already worsening so he made the decision to have both knees replaced.

Mercy doctor's coat Brother Anthony Pierce is on his way back to bicycling following double knee-replacement surgery at Mercy Orthopedic Hospital Fort Smith.

His first replacement was last fall, followed by a second knee replacement earlier this year. Spacing the surgeries out allowed him time to fully recover from the first procedure before undergoing the second.

“I put it off for about a year and a half, and I regret that I did that now because in that time period I could have had the surgery and been fully recovered sooner,” he said.

Prior to having surgery, Brother Anthony underwent rehabilitation in order to strengthen the muscles that help coordinate the knees. After surgery, he had physical therapy for eight weeks. Recovery time for each patient is different, and the recovery process for each knee can vary.

“It’s a long process, and you don’t heal overnight,” he said. “Still, I would highly recommend it. Compared with the pain I had before, compared to what I had to go through, it was all worth it. I felt like that after the first knee, and that’s why I went on to have the second one done.”

Mercy doctor's coat Brother Anthony Pierce is now able to walk without a cane following a double knee replacement.

He appreciates the care he found in Dr. Clayton, the physical therapists and the entire orthopedic team at Mercy. 

“From beginning to end, I was very pleased,” he said.

Bicycling has been a way for the Benedictine monk to stay active while enjoying the outdoors, and now he’s eager to get back on his bike. His goal is to make a return bicycle trip this fall to picturesque Mount Magazine, a five-hour round trip trek just south of Subiaco. He made the trip pre-surgery and has the “all clear” from doctors to make a post-surgery trip, after first training on a stationary bicycle.

“It’s a long ride to the top of the mountain but it’s beautiful. We are blessed in Arkansas to have these beautiful mountains,” he said. “With this ride, I will know I’m fully and totally recovered, and I can go back to doing exactly what I was doing before.”