When conservative treatments for his arthritis pain were no longer helping, Charlie N. went to IBJI for total knee replacement surgery.

Charlie had almost five near-death experiences that resulted in emergency surgery throughout his life. Given his past experiences, he was nervous about having surgery and wanted to make sure he exhausted all other options first.

Read on to hear Charlie’s story and learn how he’s doing today after total knee replacement surgery.

Treatment for Painful Knee Arthritis

cake from Charlie, given to the IBJI staff as a thank you after total knee replacement surgery

Charlie began treatment for his arthritic left knee with IBJI’s Richard Sherman, MD, in 2010. Dr. Sherman is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in disorders of the knee, hip, and shoulder and sports injuries, trauma, and arthritis.

Through the course of his care at IBJI, Charlie had chosen a conservative route of treatment. In November of 2018, he continued to see Dr. Sherman for treatments such as steroid injections, viscosupplementation, and physical therapy.

During a vacation in Paris, Charlie noticed increased back and knee strain. The pain had become so bad that he schedule online with Dr. Sherman immediately upon his return.

Dr. Sherman took some scans and learned that Charlie’s vertebrae were out of alignment, resulting in a pinched nerve.

He recommended that Charlie see IBJI pain specialist Brooke Vanderby, MD, for cortisone injections while continuing his physical therapy at IBJI’s Glenview clinic and debating his next steps.

Preparing for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

In July of 2019, Dr. Sherman told Charlie that if he continued getting more cortisone shots, the injections would eventually stop being beneficial and, in turn, cause more strain on his knee. Charlie asked if it was time for surgery, and Dr. Sherman told him it was, and total knee replacement surgery was scheduled.

To help Charlie prepare for his upcoming knee replacement surgery, he was set up with the OrthoSync program. The program helped put resources in place to make the surgery process easier.

At the physician's assistant desk in Bannockburn, Charlie put together a schedule to see out-of-network general doctors and cardiologists for tests to make sure he was a good candidate for surgery. The ease of the process is what made Charlie’s experience so unique.

“IBJI planned this whole thing out; that is amazing,” says Charlie. The OrthoSync program also provided him with a folder of options about surgery centers, aftercare, and in-home rehab. He also received scans and got his blood drawn.

At IBJI Highland Park, Charlie was asked about his physical health, giving an initial evaluation of his health status.

“From day one to today, the process that I went through with IBJI is so smooth that I never had to worry; they were in control,” said Charlie, “I didn’t have to talk to anybody; IBJI makes the patient feel comfortable and secure.”

In September 2019, Charlie had total knee replacement surgery on his left knee.

Recovering From Knee Replacement

After his total knee replacement surgery, Charlie started physical therapy and was released for in-home care after just one week.

Next, Charlie began his routine physical therapy at IBJI’s Bannockburn facility three times a week. At this point, he met Bannockburn physical therapists Melissa Romero and Rebecca Ogiela.

With a home exercise program, hours of instruction in the clinic, manual massage, and strengthening exercises, Charlie noticed improvements in his knee that he hadn’t previously seen.

“Every morning, they put me through my paces. We joked around, [I would say] ‘When I see you smile, I know I’m going to be in pain, but the pain is good, so continue on,’” said Charlie. During his last visits, Charlie bought cookies and a giant cake for the staff to show his appreciation.

After graduating from therapy, Charlie recalls what Rebecca and Melissa would always repeat back to him that motivated him during his knee replacement recovery and helped him through the moments of swelling and pain.

“One thing we tell everyone is that your body wants to move. So, you need to make that leg walk because that is what it needs to do,” Charlie repeated.

Thinking back on his therapy, Charlie said, “recovery is also a mental process, and when a patient can feel comfortable and confident, they can go through the pain, conquer it and move on.”

Charlie commends Dr. Sherman for going the extra mile in his care. Dr. Sherman referred Charlie to Dr. Vanderby for care when he had back pain. Dr. Sherman also noticed that Charlie was pigeon-toed and corrected this issue during surgery so that Charlie could structurally heal.

“These people are not only knowledgeable, but they are personable. Dr. Sherman is both the finest surgeon and a man who has compassion and understanding and presents himself that way as he takes you through major surgery.”

“[IBJI] is so tight with their process and makes the patient feel comfortable and secure. I kept telling Melissa and Rebecca, you guys have a heck of an organization. At IBJI, your staff is not only being real and comforting, but when it comes down to you having to do this to get to this point, you are firm but palatable.”

At 75 years old, Charlie is now taking advantage of working full time and getting the most out of his total knee replacement surgery, walking anywhere from two to seven and a half miles in a day.

Schedule online With an IBJI Physician

If you are experiencing knee pain, schedule a consultation to diagnose your knee problems. Let us be your guide back to a fully functioning knee. Learn more about total knee replacement surgery at IBJI.

Illinois Bone & Joint Institute is one of Illinois’ largest orthopedic group practices. We have more than 150 physicians at 100 locations throughout the greater Chicago area. We’re experts in orthopedic treatments and have complete diagnostic and rehab services.

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Last updated in May 2022.

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