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Pope Francis, 85, uses wheelchair at a public event for first time as he battles chronic knee pain 

Pope Francis, 85, uses a wheelchair at a public event for the first time as he battles chronic knee pain

  • The Pope is seen for the first time in a wheelchair in a public act
  • His spirits seemed high as he greeted and interacted with his adoring audience.
  • He used a wheelchair privately after an operation on his colon last summer
  • Pope Francis has suffered for months with pain in his right knee
  • He has canceled numerous commitments and in recent days has had trouble walking.

A smiling and waving Pope has been seen using a wheelchair at a public event for the first time while struggling with ongoing knee problems.

The 85-year-old pontiff was wheeled into the Paul VI general audience hall at the Vatican for a meeting of a Catholic organization of sisters and nuns on Thursday.

His spirits seemed high as he greeted and interacted with his adoring audience on the way to his position to deliver his speech. An assistant then helped him out of the wheelchair and into his seat.

The head of the Catholic Church was known to use a wheelchair after an operation on his colon last summer, but this was the first time he had been portrayed in one at a media event.

Pope Francis has been suffering for months with pain in his right knee, canceling numerous engagements, and in recent days he has had trouble walking.

Pope Francis 85 uses wheelchair at a public event for

A smiling and waving Pope has been seen using a wheelchair at a public event for the first time while struggling with ongoing knee problems.

His spirits seemed high as he greeted and interacted with his adoring audience on his way to his booth to deliver his speech.

His spirits seemed high as he greeted and interacted with his adoring audience on his way to his booth to deliver his speech.

Pope Francis has been suffering from pain in his right knee for months, has canceled numerous commitments and in recent days has had trouble walking

Pope Francis has been suffering from pain in his right knee for months, has canceled numerous commitments and in recent days has had trouble walking

An assistant helped him out of his wheelchair and into his seat to give his address to the Catholic organization of sisters and nuns.

An assistant helped him out of his wheelchair and into his seat to give his address to the Catholic organization of sisters and nuns.

Several times during the Easter period last month, Francis attended but did not preside at Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica.

In each case, he delegated an archbishop or cardinal to say Mass while he was seated during the service and also read his homily while seated.

On Wednesday he had to be helped out of his chair by an assistant at the weekly hearing in St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican has not officially said what the problem is, although sources have said he has chronic arthritis. The Pope himself has also spoken of a knee ligament injury.

He told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview published Tuesday that he would undergo an “intervention with infiltration.”

He said that the doctors have told him that they will give him an injection to help the movement of his joints. It is not clear if that therapy has begun.

Vatican sources said this involved injecting anti-inflammatories into the joint, adding that no surgical intervention is currently planned.

He told a newspaper in Argentina in April that he was treating his knee pain by icing it and taking some painkillers.

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