December 4, 2019

Partial knee replacement allows patient to return to active lifestyle

Knee | Patient Stories | Total Joint Replacement


In February 2019 my dad, Tom Skelly, had a partial knee replacement at OrthoIndy and I was thrilled he had finally decided to go forward with the surgery. As a member of the Marketing department at OrthoIndy, I’ve interviewed a lot of total joint replacement patients and many of them have said they regret not having a total joint replacement sooner, I knew he wouldn’t regret it.

Nonetheless, it took a while for him to get to the point of accepting he needed to have the surgery.

My dad has always been very active. He grew up running marathons, playing basketball and spending as much time as he could outdoors; whether it was camping, biking, hiking, kayaking or doing yardwork, if he could be outside, he would be. In fact, he is a big reason my sisters and I also are so active and have a love for traveling and the outdoors.

That is why it was so devastating when I saw my dad’s knee pain get continuously worse in the years leading up to the surgery. He went from a small limp that “acted up” when he went on long runs to a very noticeable limp that forced him to sit down during a short hike with his grandkids.

I could see how frustrated he was and my mom, sisters and I knew he needed to have his knee looked at by a professional. Luckily, I work at the largest orthopedic group in the area and with some convincing he finally agreed.

Originally, I suggested my dad see OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, Dr. Jonathan Shook. My parents live in Huntington, Indiana and chose to visit Dr. Shook at the OrthoIndy at St. Vincent Carmel location, which was one hour and 45 minutes from their house.

A solution to knee pain

After an exam and reviewing his imaging tests, Dr. Shook looked suggested my dad try cortisone shots, which would only temporarily relieve pain if he wasn’t quite ready for surgery. However, he was straight forward with my dad and told him eventually surgery would be the only solution.

My dad agreed to have the shot and was surprised by how much better he felt. I remember him telling me he felt like he could sit down again without being in pain and I knew his pain must’ve been worse than I thought.

Months passed and his knee pain slowly returned. Over the course of a year, he had another cortisone shot and his knee pain was temporarily relieved again. When the pain slowly returned again, he told me he was ready for surgery because he wanted to have that pain relief permanently.

My dad returned to Dr. Shook’s office and let him know he wanted to look at his surgical options. Due to my dad’s complicated cartilage wear and tear, Dr. Shook suggested he make an appointment with Dr. Jeffery Soldatis, an OrthoIndy sports medicine physician who focuses on knee reconstruction.

Before my dad met with Dr. Soldatis, Dr. Shook and Dr. Soldatis came up with a plan for his knee surgery. They determined that a partial knee replacement would be my dad’s best option to find knee pain relief and would allow him to maintain his active lifestyle.

Partial knee replacement vs. total knee replacement

Partial knee replacement surgery

A partial knee replacement is also known as a unicompartmental knee replacement. During this procedure, rather than replacing the entire knee joint, only the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced. This procedure is an alternative to a total knee replacement for patients whose disease is limited to just one area of the knee.

My dad agreed surgery was the best option and planned to have the surgery in February so he could be back on the golf course when the weather warmed up.

I knew he was nervous, but we were all able to visit him before surgery and wait with him before he was taken back in the operating room. As soon as surgery was over, Dr. Soldatis let us know that everything went well, and we were able to see my dad in his recovery room.

Partial knee replacement recovery

My dad went home the next day and was able to walk right into his house when he got home. My mom and older sister helped him during the recovery process. He did his exercises regularly, went to his physical therapy appointments and listened to the doctor’s recommendations.

In no time, my dad was up and moving around by himself. I remember him telling me that even though he had just had surgery, he still felt less pain and could be more mobile. I was thrilled and excited that he was so positive about getting better.

What to expect after knee replacement surgery

This summer my dad has been more active than he has in the past few years. He has returned to golf, all of his yardwork, biking, hiking, kayaking and isn’t afraid to go anywhere that might require him to walk for a long period of time. Though he’s given up running, my niece and nephews have him walking all over the place, swimming and playing games.

My sisters and I feel like we have our active dad back. When I asked him how he was feeling after his six-month follow-up appointment, he said he feels like he has his knee back from when he was a young kid. He also admitted that if the other knee started having a lot of pain, he wouldn’t wait so long to have the surgery this time.

My mom, sisters and I can’t thank OrthoIndy enough!

To make an appointment with Dr. Shook, please call 317.569.2514 or to make an appointment with Dr. Soldatis, please call 317.569.2515.

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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.

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