Patient Profile

Susan

Profession: Retired
Hobbies: Cycling/ Mountain Biking, Hiking/ Camping, Other
Doctor: Dr. Warme

Briefly describe your symptoms and the medical condition that brought you to see the doctor.

Unstable Knee, ACL tear
Just two months into a retirement that was supposed to be filled with hikes and bike rides, I caught my foot on an immovable object, heard an ominous pop, felt outrageous knee pain, and took a header into a nearby azalea bush. The MRI showed no intact ACL fibers, non-displaced bone fractures, meniscus tears, Baker's cyst, etc...
The surgeon I saw at that time dismissed me as a candidate for surgery due to my age and weight. I was fitted with a knee brace and encouraged to strengthen the muscles that support the knee. That was the first time in my life that I felt written-off medically. Initially dispirited, I wallowed in food and self-pity, for awhile.....
Fast forward five years. I was leading an active life, exercised in earnest, had lost 65-70 pounds. Nevertheless, my knee became more unstable, and I fell 5 times in as many months. Concerned about the possibility of further injuries, I had a consultation with Dr. Warme for reconsideration of my eligibility for surgery. Fortunately he said the magic words that I was a good candidate for ACL reconstruction.

What one or two things stand out to you about your experience with your doctor and their team?

To a person, I find them all to be accessible, easy to talk to, kind, and respectful. Both Dr. Warme and Carlos performed a thorough but painless examination of my knee. (How is that possible!) Dr. Warme took time to answer all my questions and address any concerns. I feel confident that, even if he had found that I was not a candidate for surgery, he would have delivered the message in a way that was not spirit-crushing. But fortunately he said yes.

What can you do now that you could not do before surgery? Have you been able to return to your hobbies or sports at the same level as pre-injury or at an even higher level?

It is less than 3 months since my surgery. However, I already notice improved balance and stability. I walk a mile and a half to the gym. I am not afraid that each step might lead to an unpredictable fall. Rehab is going well. I anticipate that I will be able to return to a wide range of physical activities.

What advice would you like to share with a patient with a condition such as yours who is considering surgery?

Before surgery:
First, find the right surgical team for you. Don't give up because of a bad fit.
As much as you can before surgery, strengthen the muscles that support the knee. You will have a leg-up after surgery.
Buy an extra pair of TED hose and practice putting them on and taking them off before surgery. Also consider practicing using crutches before surgery, so you can propel yourself forward instead of careening backwards.

After surgery:
Go slow. Respect the pace your body needs to heal.
Do the work. Rehab is your job right now.
Make the exercises fun. Put on some music that compels your feet to move. Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack works for me.

Please share any additional comments!

Good luck.