When chronic knee pain struck Kristy Altman right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, she knew delaying her care was not an option.
Although retired, Kristy was called back to her teaching position in 2019, and soon, her knee pain became so severe she was no longer able to stand in front of her classes. A visit to the Bone and Joint Institute’s Cory Calendine, M.D., revealed that she had severe arthritis and would need a total knee replacement. Years prior, Kristy’s sister-in-law had experienced similar symptoms and delayed her procedure nearly eight years, resulting in longer rehabilitation and healing time.
Between her pain and her need to be back on her feet quickly, Dr. Calendine performed Kristy’s knee replacement using cutting-edge robotic technology, and she was resting in her home that same day.
“When I first went in for my procedure, I was treated like a queen,” Kristy said. “Before my surgery, Dr. Calendine sat beside me and we chatted like old friends. He answered my questions and calmed my fears. I woke up with no pain and I was totally myself.”
After a few weeks of rest and rehabilitation, Kristy was nearly back to 100%. Just six weeks after her surgery, she and her husband embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime hiking trip, exploring sites including the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and more.
“When my husband was forced out of work, we decided to be spontaneous and book a trip out west,” Kristy said. “We hiked seven different national parks, sometimes up to seven miles a day. Before my knee replacement, there’s no way I would’ve been able to do that.”
Across the country, physicians are seeing the impact from COVID-19 in many ways. With delays in preventative care visits and the suspension of elective procedures, physicians are now treating more advanced stages of illness and injury. Physicians at the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee are working to drive awareness about the importance of not delaying care, especially when patients are experiencing chronic pain.
“Part of our job is to rise to meet the needs of our community, and we’re proud of the protocols we have in place to push our outpatient joint replacement capabilities forward,” said Dr. Calendine. “Our ambulatory surgery center is a state-of-the-art boutique experience with surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and physical therapists all specialized to the orthopaedic practice. We are dedicated to delivering the latest cutting-edge technology to our patients, right here in Middle Tennessee.”
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