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Jim Eggerichs

Life renewed following total knee replacement

Fifty-four-year-old Jim Eggerichs, of Onalaska, feels years younger following his total knee replacement surgery at Gundersen Health System.

Since his high school days of wrestling and playing football, Jim has dealt with knee problem after knee problem, including three surgeries. "I lived with the pain and lived with the pain," shares Jim.

In 2002, osteoarthritis settled into his knee joints, causing intense pain and swelling. "The things I liked to do outdoors became very limited because of it. I had to quit golfing. I did yard work, but I suffered for it. Since I couldn't be as active as I wanted, I gained weight. It's like a vicious cycle," Jim says.

Gundersen orthopedic surgeon Mark Topolski, MD, suggested that Jim try knee injections to ease the pain. The injections worked for a while. However, when the pain started affecting his sleep, Dr. Topolski recommended surgery.

"The way Dr. Topolski put it was if it gets to a point in your life where the pain is disrupting your everyday function, it's time," says Jim. "I finally just couldn't take it anymore."

Jim had his right knee replaced on May 10, 2017, and he couldn't be happier with the outcome. Two months after surgery and rehabilitation, he was back to mowing his lawn, but this time, without awful pain or swelling. "I bicycle frequently, too, and my knee tolerates it just wonderfully. I have my days where my knee is stiff but I just go back to what Dr. Topolski's team taught me following surgery," he says.

The care Jim received at Gundersen, both during his overnight hospital stay and five weeks of physical therapy, was the icing on the cake.

"My nurses [in the hospital] were incredible. They checked on me all the time, constantly asked about my pain level, took my vitals—anything that I wanted, within reason, it was there. When it was time for a shift change, the next nurse was just as great as the one before them.

"My physical therapists Nicole [Dockendorff], DPT, and Kurt [Van Auken], PTA, were just as wonderful. They always pushed me but never to the point of feeling uncomfortable. They reminded me often, 'You'll be rewarded for what you do.' Sure enough, I could see progression every day," says Jim.

"I'm so happy with my decision. I'm planning to have my left knee replaced at Gundersen, too."

Gundersen orthopedic specialists can help you get back to an active lifestyle—whether you've been injured or are experiencing joint pain. Schedule an appointment today close to home.

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