Susan Kelly is passionate about walking – regularly planning forty minute walks into her daily routine. She has participated in Avon’s three-day walk for breast cancer three years in row. She even kept walking after she twisted her right knee going down the stairs at her daughter’s house.
“I had a new grandson, so I probably waited a bit too long to get evaluated,” said Ms. Kelly. But even when she did go to the doctor, she wasn’t inclined to seek treatment. “The first doctor I visited gave me all the negative aspects of all the different treatments. I didn’t want to stay with him.”
Ms. Kelly once again delayed seeing a doctor, however. A recently retired teacher, she had started working out with a trainer to get into better shape. The sessions were going fine until the trainer increased the speed on the treadmill one day to have Ms. Kelly begin running. “I have to be able to walk, it is crucial to me,” said Ms. Kelly. “But when I started to run I felt something pop. That is when I knew I needed to see someone.”
She found her answer in the mail. A letter from a foundation arrived that bore the support of Riley Williams, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. She saw that he specialized in knees and Ms. Kelly called and made an appointment for a second opinion.
“I liked him right from the beginning,” said Ms. Kelly. “And he said I would be a perfect candidate for a clinical trial he was involved in. It was an easy decision for me to enroll, I felt very positive about it.”
Ms. Kelly was enrolled in the MeTeOR trial (Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research), a clinical trial comparing nonsurgical management of knee osteoarthritis through physical therapy with surgical repair using arthroscopy. She was randomized to the physical therapy branch of the trial and attended therapy sessions about twice a week for 12 weeks.
“I have a really high regard for physical therapy and therapists,” said Ms. Kelly. “My therapist, Jennifer Petrakis, PT, DPT, worked me very hard and I’ve gotten most of my flexibility back in my knee. Even now I find myself doing the exercises she gave me.”
Before entering the trial, the pain from her knee would wake her up at night and she had a very hard time navigating stairs. Now, she sleeps through the night, she’s back to walking a lot and goes up and down stairs without a problem. She recently joined a Yoga studio and tries to go at least three times a week.
“I know my knee is still not at 100 percent,” said Ms. Kelly. “If I’m sitting for a long time at a dinner or at the movie theater, it is stiff when I stand up. But it is important for me not to give in to this. I’m hoping to get into biking this summer.”