Pope Francis used a wheelchair during a public meeting on Thursday, the first time he has done so publicly since leaving the hospital after colon surgery in July 2021.

The 85-year-old pope has had difficulty walking due to a painful torn ligament in his knee.

He was pushed in a wheelchair onto the stage of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on May 5, at the start of a meeting with participants in the plenary meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

During his recent public appearances, he has apologized for being unable to stand and walk to greet participants.

He also needed assistance when standing up from his chair after the May 4 general audience.

Pope Francis said in an interview this week that he would be undergoing a small medical procedure, “an intervention with infiltrations,” to provide some relief.

Therapeutic injections are sometimes used to relieve knee pain caused by ligament tears.

The pope’s movements have been visibly more limited for months.

During an April 2-3 visit to Malta, extra measures were taken to ensure that the pope would not have to take stairs, due to his knee problem.

In the course of his hospital stay after colon surgery last year, Pope Francis greeted medical staff from a wheelchair.

Source: catholic news agency