Leading Up to My Bilateral Knee Surgery
HUDSON VALLEY, New York — My name is Sue. I began having knee troubles 25 years ago when I decided to reminisce like I was back in HS and go skiing. I never realized how high the mountain was or how fast I would be going. Needless to say I fell and tore the meniscus in one knee. I had it repaired, but it was never the same.
Fast forward a few years and a few arthroscopic procedures, which did not make either of my knees feel even 75% better, and I am visiting orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Russinoff. Dr. Russinoff is a surgeon that I highly recommend. He is an amazing doctor. I send anyone who needs help with their knees to Dr. Russinoff.
I had been a patient of the orthopedic group Dr. Russinoff belongs to, but was there previously for other ailments. My husband, Matt, was the first to use Dr. Russinoff. He ended up needing a partial knee replacement, which was a success. When I first saw Dr. Russinoff he treated my aching knees conservatively with anti-inflammatory medication, and when that didn’t work we tried cortisone injections. I continued to have pain when I walked and was not happy with the path my life was taking. Dr. Russinoff attempted to help me by injecting Synvisc into one knee, however I did not get one iota of relief and it hurt like the dickens. He then suggested one more arthroscopic procedure to give me some time before total knee replacement. Unfortunately that did not provide the relief hoped for, so I was still suffering from severe knee pain.
In the spring of 2014 Dr. Russinoff took a full set of x-rays of both knees and told me I would be a candidate for total knee replacement. He told me I had no cartilage left in either knee and there was nothing he could do to reverse that condition. I was not ready for such a big procedure so I told him I would like to wait. He told me “You will know when you are ready, I’ll be here, just call.”
I then went to someone else for a second opinion and was mortified by this doctor’s attitude. Before even looking at my x-rays or examining me he just wanted to schedule surgery, even while leaving his office I was pressured to make a surgery appointment. That certainly cemented my decision in choice of doctors.
Usually in the summer months my knees used to not ache so much; it wasn’t the case that year. I had as much pain as I had in the winter. I knew my time for BTKR was coming quickly. No longer could I take walks with my husband or play with my grandchildren. When anyone suggested doing something I would have to ask, “how much walking or standing is involved?” If there was any I had to say, “no I can’t go.” I was becoming a couch potato and didn’t like it. I was also unable to exercise because any movement hurt my knees and so I gained a lot of weight.
In July I called Dr. Russinoff and said I was ready for surgery, but I wanted him to do both knees at the same time for a few reasons; one surgery, one anesthesia, one recovery and one rehabilitation. I had a few weeks off for Christmas and so I scheduled my surgery around those days. I then began to prepare.
Choosing My Rehab
Dr. Russinoff told me I might have to go to rehab so I toured four different skilled nursing facilities (also known as in-patient facilities). I found that most of them were not much different than a hospital setting. The rooms were not private and the food was institutionalized. The physical therapy was done in groups, no individualization there. I did not want to get out of the hospital just to go back into a setting similar to what I had just left, so I looked for options. That is when I found out about the X10™. My son called and told me about this new machine which has just come out to help rehabilitate knee replacements. He put me in contact with the representative and I was able to get the X10 in my home for my rehab.
I was operated on the Monday before Thanksgiving (11/24) at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. I had bilateral total knee replacement. The surgery went great as expected.
I was in the hospital for five days until 11/29. On Wednesday 12/3 a therapist came to my house to evaluate me for in home physical therapy. On 12/8 the X10™ was delivered to my home and I began to work on my flexion and range of motion. I used it three times per day for 30 minutes a leg. After a few days I contacted Todd from X10™ and told him I was increasing the time of each session to 40 minutes but only doing two sessions per day. I like the fact that with the X10 I can do the therapy when I am able, it is individualized to fit your needs and lifestyle. The in home physical therapy came back on 12/10 told me I should stay in bed, relax and heal. I looked at him like he was crazy and told him that would only build up scar tissues, not heal. Needless to say I called the service and told them he need not return.
Now it was me… no home care, not thereapists. Just me and the X10 working towards a common goal, my full and total rehabilitation, I was in control. I used the X10 religiously. Sure there were times when I didn’t feel like doing it, but I knew the X10 was the key to my recovery. Each time I increased the range I felt stronger afterwards. I pushed myself and I believe that was the reason for my knee’s success.
After two weeks I needed to add more exercises to my X10 routine so I asked Dr. Russinoff to give me a prescription to go to outpatient rehab. I got the script and went to Millbrook PT. They added exercises to do in conjunction with using the X10. My range of motion far exceeded what anyone expected. At four weeks post surgery my ROM was at the absolute maximum possible. I called Todd and said “get this X10 out of here, I don’t need it anymore.”
At this point I am finished with physical therapy. I am not finished with my own individual therapy and I exercise with weights every other day and ride a recumbent bike. On a daily basis I have no pain in my knees and just yesterday (10 weeks post surgery) I was able to do a hill program on my bike and completed five miles. Life with my new knees is painless since my bilateral knee replacement and it keeps getting better every day. My bilateral knee replacement journey is almost over, but my life’s journey is just beginning.