After a fall on black ice.
One winter, Mary, a patient of “a certain age,” did a very graceful slip and fall onto black ice that tore the medial meniscus on her left knee.
The medial menisci are thick pieces of cartilage that serve as shock absorbers and stabilizers for the knee joint. And Mary’s fall had torn part of her medial meniscus away from her lower leg bones.
Without treatment, Mary was asking for trouble.
“She was advised by a surgeon to undergo a meniscal root repair, even though patients of her age generally saw only a fifty percent success rate.”
If the surgery failed, she was facing a Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) surgery, a far more serious procedure with a longer recovery time. But because the slip happened at work, workman’s comp would cover it.
She elected to have the surgery done.
We had to take things slowly. At Mary’s age, the cartilage that makes up the medial menisci is less supple, and takes longer to recover from damage. We didn’t want to compound the problems by pushing too hard for her to recover.
But Mary was patient and willing to accept that her simple slip and fall had caused more damage to her than it would have in a younger person. She was willing to take it slow and steady.
That didn’t mean that her therapy was easy!
Mary disciplined herself to be patient and persistent, and was very responsive about giving us feedback as requested. When she encountered pain, we adjusted her therapy to address it, and came up with several workarounds that allowed her to increase her mobility as she healed—without putting additional strain on her healing knee.
Mary’s persistence paid off, and she is now back to doing everything she used to do.
Hats off to Mary for her amazing determination, and her trust in us to tell us where it hurt!