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Tom Johnson, above left, Director of Physical Therapy, gives advice to Becky DeArmitt, who is recovering from a total knee replacement.

Knee replacement brings back mobility

As a busy, active 63-year-old woman, Becky DeArmitt knew she didn’t want to accept constant pain in her right knee. She turned to Dr. David Pearce of West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic for help. At the end of June, he performed a total knee replacement. Today, she is back at work and getting around better than she has in a while — and without pain.

“I used to be a runner, running most every night on the street,” said DeArmitt, who works at St. Mary’s School in the office handling communications and the school’s website and is assistant to the principal and vice principal. “At that time, they did not have the quality of running shoes they do today, and my knee showed and felt it.”

DeArmitt, who lived in Union City until eight years ago, had dealt with knee issues for quite some time and had tried several options to get relief.

“I had arthroscopic knee surgery twice before I moved to Jackson,” she said. The first repaired a torn meniscus, and the second cleaned up scar tissue that had developed in her knee, she explained. “I also had cortisone shots for pain relief and a series of injections that were to build up cushioning in my knee. “

At the end of it all, DeArmitt found no relief and was faced with a knee that had scar tissue and arthritis, which caused her to be in constant pain. She knew Dr. Pearce from St. Mary’s and turned to him for relief more than a year ago. After x-rays, an MRI, more cortisone shots and a series of injections, she was left with one option: total knee replacement.

She had the surgery on June 28. She did not need pre-surgery therapy because she had been active and had good movement in her knee. After surgery, she remained in the hospital for four days with her right leg in a continuous passive motion (CPM) exercise machine to restore movement in the knee and leg. This device slowly moves the knee while the patient is in bed, decreases leg swelling by elevating the leg and improves circulation by moving the leg muscles.

Once she got home, DeArmitt continued to use the CPM to increase the flexibility of her knee for two times a day for three hours at a time. She also had in-home physical therapy every day for a week. Within a day or two after surgery, DeArmitt was able to move around on her own with the assistance of a walker and then a cane.

“The walker was so cumbersome, and I could get around, so I did not use it long,” said DeArmitt. “Within a week of surgery I was getting around pretty well. I do not believe in stopping or slowing down. I like to keep going so I was determined not to be down long with this.”

Two weeks after surgery, Dr. Pearce prescribed physical therapy three times a week. Once again, DeArmitt turned to West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic where she completed her therapy.

Three months after surgery, DeArmitt is doing great. “I am really pleased with how my surgery, recovery and rehabilitation have gone,” said DeArmitt, who returned to work four weeks after surgery. “I also am a big believer in doing your home therapy exercises the physical therapists prescribe. I think that was very instrumental to my recovery. If you don’t do home therapy, you will lose what you gain in therapy as you only go three times a week. I did my exercises at home in the morning and then after work.”

“I have confidence in Dr. Pearce and the therapists at Bone and Joint,” said DeArmitt. “They are good people who are caring and knowledgeable in their field. They encourage and help you and are genuinely concerned about your recovery.”