By, Allison R. Weder
Sherry Brouse, who is in her 40’s, struggled with knee problems for years. “I had been in pain for the last several years, but was told I was too young for (knee replacement) surgery.” Doctors recommend people wait as long as possible to undergo a knee replacement because the artificial joints only last 15 to 20 years. If someone younger gets the procedure, the joint will likely need to be replaced again. Sherry lived her life in pain with only short-term fixes until her doctor decided, despite her age, it was time for total knee replacement.
Knee replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in the knee when other methods of treatment are no longer working well. Metal and plastic parts are used to cap the bones that form the joint, along with the knee cap. Many people who require the surgery are unable to do normal activities that involve bending the knee. Sherry’s life was significantly impacted by her pain, and she looked forward to the surgery so she could get back to the things she loved to do. Her doctor recommended post-surgical rehabilitation, so Sherry chose Phoenix Physical Therapy because it was near her home and in-network with her insurance. “I was pretty helpless after surgery. I couldn’t walk without the assistance of a walker. I couldn’t really even dress myself.”Sherry’s first appointment at the Phoenix Physical Therapy Lewisburg clinic was just a few days after her surgery. Sherry was unsure what to expect. “I had never had physical therapy before. I was very nervous because I was in so much pain. My therapist, Chris Herbster, PT, took it slow with me and helped me to understand what to expect.” Chris is the Clinic Director at the Lewisburg clinic. “Sherry came home the same day that she had her total knee replacement and was in a great deal of pain her first day of therapy, but despite a great deal of struggle, she stuck it out and was able to overcome.”
Sherry’s therapy sessions began slowly. “Most of the exercises, at the beginning, were focused on the mobility of my knee and muscle strengthening.” Chris took cues from her, giving her exercises he knew she could handle while ensuring her recovery was progressing. “It took a week or two until I started seeing real improvement. I had a lot of swelling at the beginning that caused me pain and that made it hard to do a lot of the exercises.” The work in the clinic continued for several more weeks. “(Chris) had me perform prone hangs, straight leg raises, quad and hamstring sets, and I spent time on the bike at the beginning of each session to loosen up.”
Sherry grew to trust Chris and the entire Lewisburg team as she reached milestones in her recovery. “The staff there were amazing. Chris asked me every day how I was feeling and was understanding if I didn’t feel I could handle certain manipulations. He would push me for my own benefit, but would also not cause me any more pain than he had to. Barb was at the front desk and was always very pleasant and accommodating with appointment scheduling. She would even come back and help set things up if Chris was really busy.” Chris was impressed with Sherry’s motivation to recover. “Sherry is the kind of patient we would like to have all the time. She is full of energy, ambition, and has a great attitude.”
Sherry is now back to enjoying life again, doing the things she needs and loves to do. “Because of physical therapy, I can now walk over a mile a day with no assistance. I have no problems doing housework and I am back to enjoying walks with my husband and dog.” She is grateful for the care she received at Phoenix. “I would like to thank Chris for not letting me give up in the really tough times and for the continued encouragement. Thank you for pushing me past the pain so that I could be pain free again.”