At 16, Tom Buttel suffered a knee injury while playing rugby, and while that incident happened more than 40 years ago, it continues to impact his life today.
At 60 Tom has advanced osteoarthritis in his right knee after the debilitating condition took hold in his mid-20s.
Tom underwent several surgeries over a 15 year period and has now lived with osteoarthritis for many years.
“It has a huge impact on my life, but I have developed the skills to manage the condition and have learnt a great deal about osteoarthritis and self care,” Tom said.
“As I’m getting older, my arthritis is naturally not improving, but I’m in a better position to manage the condition and reduce its symptoms.
“The best treatment has been a chronic care program involving clinician/researchers from the Kolling Institute which focuses on losing weight and specialised exercises.
“It’s been very helpful for me in recent years and the multi-disciplinary team has been tremendously supportive.
“The program has adopted an evidenced-based approach developed through a series of research initiatives. You really are receiving the best care if it’s informed by the latest research.
“I have been fortunate to have been supported by some of the Kolling’s impressive clinican/researchers including Professors Hunter, March and Little and I’ve benefitted from their expertise.
“They are leading experts in their field and that gives you a huge amount of confidence that you are receiving the best care and advice.”
Convinced of the importance of evidenced-based care, Tom has taken part in a collection of research trials and continues to support patient advocacy initiatives.
“I feel the more you give, the more you receive. I’ve met some wonderful people and they’ve inspired me as a patient to try a little harder.
“Seeing that level of care and dedication from those looking after you encourages you as a patient.
“All these years later, I’m in better shape as a result of the care and treatment I’ve received, and I’m keen to do what I can to support research and help more people benefit from evidenced-based care.
“It can dramatically improve their condition and ultimately quality of life.
"I'm keen to do what I can to support research and help more people benefit from evidenced-based care."