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Where surgical innovation gets you back in the game

Sixty-two year old Gary Gamoke loves to golf. But severe knee pain made it nearly impossible to swing the club, let alone walk the course.

"It was tough for me to get down on my knees to line up the putt, and the follow-through on my swing was terrible because I couldn't put weight on my left knee. It got to the point that I couldn't walk one hole without pain," recalls Gary.

Not only was Gary's golf game negatively affected but also his overall quality of life. "For years, I was under excruciating pain at night. I tried shots of cortisone and rooster comb, and didn't have very good results. Something had to be done," he says.

Gary visited Gundersen Health System Orthopedics where he learned he had bone-on-bone contact on the interior part of both of his knees. Orthopedic surgeon Bradley Fowler, MD, Gundersen Sports Medicine Onalaska, explained several treatment options including ongoing injections, partial knee replacement and total knee replacement.

Fortunately, Gary was an excellent candidate for partial knee replacement. Unlike a total knee replacement which replaces all three compartments of the knee, a partial knee replacement preserves up to 75 percent of healthy bone and cartilage. This offers many benefits including:

  • A smaller incision
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Quicker recovery, often back to full activities in 6-8 weeks
  • Greater range of motion
  • Outpatient surgery

Gary describes the outcome of his partial knee replacement as "phenomenal." He credits Dr. Fowler and his team, as well as Gundersen's Physical Therapy department for their knowledge, motivation and professionalism.

"I got all of my movement and strength back in about six weeks. What I can do with my knee now compared to before the operation is amazing. I can get down on my knees a lot easier and get back up. I can get a good night's sleep and wake up feeling a lot better. My day goes more smoothly when I know I don't have to worry about my knees hurting," he says.

As for Gary's golf game, that has improved too! "Maybe not to the extent of getting a better score, but to the happiness I have playing the game," he shares. "Now I don't have any problem walking two or three holes. I can walk a whole nine holes if I wanted to. I have a better time swinging the club, and my momentum on the course is so much more fluid."

"At Gundersen, you're treated as an individual, not as just another case," Gary adds. Take, for instance, the time Gary was in his car (a few weeks after his operation). "I have the top down, and this young lady walks out in front of me and yells, 'Ice that knee. And make sure you do your exercises.' At first, I thought she was mad. It was Kristin from the Physical Therapy who, like all of the staff, were so personable."

Gary says, "I truly believe the staff cares about the results and the outcome of quality of life for you. I would recommend Gundersen to anyone."

With such fantastic results, Gary already has a partial knee replacement scheduled for his right knee.

You may be a good candidate for partial knee replacement if:

  • You suffer from osteoarthritis that primarily affects the medial (or inside) of one area of your knee.
  • You experience pain and/or swelling while standing, walking or during activities of daily living.
  • You no longer respond to medication or other non-surgical treatment.

If you suffer from chronic knee pain, there are options for a pain-free future. Schedule a consultation today.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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