Rob’s shoes were to blame for his painful knees. As a Navy veteran, the 51-year-old military man reflected back on his boot camp days in San Diego marching around in “boon dockers”.

“It’s a shoe/boot hybrid and it’s a bad idea,” Rob recalls. “We had to run in these and it was just miserable.”

According to Rob, the boots are no longer issued to new recruits because of how much damage they did. 

Boon dockers are shoes that were issued in the military to new recruits
Boon dockers are shoes that were issued in the military to new recruits. They caused Rob to have severe knee pain.

“My knees sounded like popcorn,” he says. “Over the next few decades, I treated the pain with over-the-counter pain meds and saw the doctor once in a while. I just sucked it up.”

Following his time in the military, Rob served as a police officer in recent years, working on a tactical team.

“That job didn't help my knees at all,” he said.

Surgeries Prior to Coming to IBJI

Before discovering total knee replacement or TKR surgery at IBJI, Rob visited the VA hospital and had a couple of meniscus surgeries. His doctor discovered that he had bone-on-bone in both knees, but his left knee was worse. He was told nothing else could be done for him there, and they recommended seeing an orthopedic surgeon for TKR surgery.

TKR Surgery Recommendations

Pictured here in 1994, Rob served in the Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station Babras Point in Hawaii
Pictured here in 1994, Rob served in the Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station Babras Point in Hawaii.

When considering having total knee replacement surgery, Rob consulted with his wife Denise, a Glenbrook Hospital operating room nurse. She knew of Michael O’Rourke, MD, an IBJI orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement surgery, including TKR surgery.

“She said, ‘you better go to the best and that’s Dr. O’Rourke,’” Rob said.

Rob learned that IBJI has a service contract with the VA.

“They said I could go to the Community Care Veterans Affairs office,” Rob said. “So the VA is actually paying my bill. There are ways for veterans to get healthcare without using the VA.”

This worked out great for Rob since he wanted to choose his own surgeon for his TKR surgery.

“If IBJI didn’t have that contract with the VA, I wouldn’t have been able to see Dr. O’Rourke and I wouldn’t have been as happy as I am,” Rob said.

Prepping for TKR Surgery

Leading up to Rob’s TKR surgery, he recalls the pain level he was in. Standing and brushing his teeth was one of the most excruciating tasks. 

“There was so much pain that my vision would flash white and the next thing I would have done would be to black out,” he recalls. “After I talked to Dr. O’Rourke, I learned I had bone nerve on bone nerve pain, and you can see a color spectrum associated with the pain.”

Rob on vacation in Yellowstone, 2019
Rob on vacation in Yellowstone, 2019.

Rob was nauseated, dizzy, and couldn’t concentrate whenever he would have to put a significant amount of pressure on his left knee, and his right knee wasn’t much better. “This pain wouldn’t go away for a while,” he said. “I couldn’t keep functioning that way.”

Cortisone shots took the edge off for a time, but Dr. O’Rourke recommended an MRI and it showed that he had an enormous amount of trauma to his left knee.

His associate Jessica made sure to schedule him six months out to give his body time to use up the cortisone that existed in his body.

Rob was given literature that included what to expect from TKR surgery, how to recover, and information about physical therapy following TKR surgery. That’s when he contacted the IBJI Lake Barrington Physical & Occupational Therapy Clinic to schedule his appointments ahead of the TKR surgery.

Recovery After TKR Surgery

Rob underwent his TKR surgery a year ago and has seen significant improvement. Recovery hasn’t been all roses, he says, but putting in the hard work has paid off.

“I didn’t quite know how significant the therapist was to my recovery, but if it wasn’t for the therapist taking the time to get to know me and working with me, I wouldn’t have recovered so well,” Rob says. 

Rob worked with Julia Thompson, PT, DPT, and Chris Scholtenpta, PTA. “They’re both great people.”

Rob's pain has been reduced thanks to TKR surgery performed by Dr. Michael O'Rourke
Rob's pain has been
reduced thanks to TKR surgery performed by Dr. Michael O'Rourke.

He was impressed and surprised by how his knee looked following TKR surgery.

“They did a beautiful job on the scar, I didn’t have a lot of scar tissue, and Dr. O’Rourke didn’t use staples,” Rob says.

"IBJI has the doctors that doctors want to see."

- Rob S. 

Preparing for Another TKR Surgery

Rob is now considering scheduling his TKR surgery for his right knee and he knows who will be doing it. The advice of his nurse wife was spot on. She said how respected Dr. O’Rourke is, and that other doctors who need surgery go to see him.

“IBJI has the doctors that doctors want to see,” Rob says. “That really puts me at ease.” 

Trust IBJI for Your Knee Care

We are experts in robotic knee replacement surgery. Our practice has over 80 knee specialists at various locations in the Chicagoland area, with expertise in surgical and non-surgical treatments for chronic knee pain.

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