March 4, 2019

Swimmer rebounds from sports injury

Knee | Pediatric Orthopedics | Sports Injury


Coming from a family of swimmers, it’s not surprising that Elyse Heiser spends most of her free time in the water. Swimming is a family affair in the Heiser household. Both of her parents swam competitively and her two young brothers also enjoy the sport.

She started swimming with the Water Wizards at the Riviera Club in Indianapolis when she was only four-years-old. Elyse currently swims for Zionsville Swim Club and Zionsville High School.

In 2017, Elyse was practicing and preparing for divisionals as well as the Indiana State Swim meet. Just a few weeks before divisionals, Elyse was playing basketball in her P.E. class when she heard a buckle and popping noise, followed by pain in her knee.

Elyse’s mom took her to OrthoIndy Urgent Care. Elyse assumed she would need to rest her knee before competing again. With her competitive nature, the only thing on her mind was not missing the State swim meet.

However, it wasn’t the good news she expected. She was diagnosed with a dislocated patella. Elyse stayed positive and hoped rest would help heal her injury.

Patellar dislocation 

The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). As you bend or straighten your leg, the kneecap is pulled up or down. The thighbone (femur) has a V-shaped notch (femoral groove) at one end to allow the kneecap to move. Normally, the patella fits perfectly in the groove. But if the groove is uneven or too shallow, the patella could slide off, resulting in a partial or complete kneecap dislocation.

A patellar dislocation is usually a result of a sudden blow or twisting action of the knee, which was Elyse’s case. In most cases the patella will relocate to the patellofemoral groove when you straighten your knee, however this is usually quite painful.

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After visiting OrthoIndy Urgent Care, Elyse scheduled an appointment with Dr. Kosmas Kayes, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at OrthoIndy.

“We chose OrthoIndy initially because of the urgent care clinic,” said Elyse. “Then, when we found out that my injury may require surgery, my mom wanted me to see Dr. Kayes. My mom is a pediatric physical therapist and knows that Dr. Kayes is an outstanding and well-respected physician..”

Dr. Kayes determined Elyse would need surgery to remove bone that had chipped off after the patellar dislocation.

“I thought that I would be fine, but when Dr. Kayes said that I would need to have surgery, I broke down,” said Elyse. “That is when I knew I wouldn’t be competing at state that year.”

She was disappointed that her injury would keep her from competing, but Dr. Kayes helped put her at ease.  “Dr. Kayes shared a time when he injured his knee at a critical time during his high school basketball season which I could relate to,” said Elyse. “Everyone at OrthoIndy told me what was going to happen every step of the way and comforted me whenever I received any bad news.”

The surgery

“Elyse had a small piece of bone that had chipped off her knee cap when it went back into place after the dislocation,” said Dr. Kayes. “She underwent evaluation with an MRI and it was determined she may need this piece fixed back into place. She had arthroscopic surgery to visualize the kneecap and the piece that had broken off. During the surgery, it was determined the piece did not need to be fixed but could be simply removed which would speed up her recovery.”

After knee surgery

After a successful surgery, Elyse worked really hard to complete her rehab so she could get back to swimming as fast as possible.

“It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for surgery and rehab,” said Elyse. “My rehab took about three months before I was back to full training. I had to take it easy and not rush things so I could heal and fully recover.”

Dr. Kosmas Kayes knows that how you react to all the different aspects of the surgery process is crucial. “Rehabilitation after surgery is extremely important. Elyse had an excellent mindset for recovery, said Dr. Kosmas Kayes. “She was focused and patient and did everything we asked of her. She was able to make a full recovery.”

“Today I am feeling great,” said Elyse. “I am back to competitive swimming at full capacity. Since my injury and corrective surgery, I have not only competed at the state level but have gone on to compete at central zones.”

One day Elyse hopes to reach the Olympic Trials for swimming. “I’ve been training very hard and my knee hasn’t been a problem in my training, so I think I’m on the right path,” said Elyse.

Since her surgery, Elyse broke two individual Zionsville Swim Club records, the 400 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.

Dr. Kayes is an incredible physician,” said Elyse. “He is very thoughtful and thorough which made the process very easy.  When I was scared or my mom was concerned, he always reassured us. He listened and answered all of our questions. Thank you Dr. Kayes!”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kayes, please call 317.802.2491 or learn more about sports medicine at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317-802-2000

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