When 48-year-old Buffalo Grove resident Patricia Krug was a teenager, she was in a car accident and unknowingly tore her right anterior cruciate ligament (ALC). Over the years, Patricia developed progressive arthritis and deformity in her knee. In 2013, Thomas Kim, M.D. scoped Patricia’s knee to clean up some meniscus tears followed by lubricating injections (hyaluronic acid injections), which managed to postpone her eventual knee replacement for six years.
“She was an active individual who worked full time and enjoyed several recreational sports,” says Dr. Kim. “Over the years, she became increasingly hampered by her arthritic right knee, which had undergone several previous surgeries and multiple injections. By the time of her knee replacement surgery, she could not climb stairs and she had developed a severe 25-degree valgus deformity (knock knee) with chronic ligament laxity.”
“I’m an area manager at a large shipping facility. Every day I walk about five miles at work,” says Patricia. “It got to the point I couldn’t even function doing that because of the pain. I couldn’t walk with my friends at street fairs. Couldn’t play rugby or softball. This was my right knee, so I couldn’t even drive after a certain point.”
“It was excruciating just to get up in the morning. I have an extremely high tolerance for pain,” explains Patricia, “so when I couldn’t take the pain anymore, Dr. Kim took that seriously.”
And after running some tests and conducting a thorough examination, he concluded that it was absolutely the right time for a knee replacement. So in July 2019, Patricia had the surgery. Dr Kim used a gap balancing technique to achieve a well-stabilized knee throughout the full range of motion. Using the gap balancing technique not only achieved stability, but her severe valgus deformity was fully corrected. This technique is now being combined with computer navigation-assisted robotic surgery to deliver a high level of precision and accuracy to joint replacement surgery.
“I felt a huge difference immediately.”
“After the surgery, I was able to walk that day. I was able to stand straight. I hadn’t stood straight in 10 years because my leg kept on bowing out to the right further and further. Even my friends thought my leg was going to break off, that’s how bad it was,” says Patricia.
She continues, “I was in the hospital for two days and then I went home. After that, I did in-home physical therapy through Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH). They brought over a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine that bends your leg with some resistance. I started at 10 degrees, then 20 and got up to 80 degrees after a while. I did this three days a week.”
Patricia regained her range of motion early. After six weeks, she was able to return to work.
July 2020 marked one year since Patricia’s knee replacement. Now, she’s returned to many recreational activities, including biking almost every day. She even has a fitness bike in her home that she uses every morning.
“I have my life back.”
“It was huge, huge, huge for me. That’s the best way to put it. Life-changing. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs it. I also recommend that you keep up your therapy afterward,” says Patricia. “It might sound silly, but 100 percent keep up with it. I would say I was fully recovered after about seven months. And now it’s hard to believe how different I feel.”
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Note: Dr. Kim is an independent physician in the community with privileges at NCH. He is not an employee or agent of NCH.
No case is the same; results may vary.