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The ATTUNE® Knee helped Mark get off the beaten path again.
Mark Sybouts, age 59, resides in southern Indiana, U.S., and is a co-owner of a company in the green industry of lawn care and turf distribution. Whether his day is spent on a customer visit or in the field loading 50-pound bags of fertilizer alongside his team, Mark enjoys unwinding from the day on neighborhood walks with his wife or taking family hikes in local parks on the weekends.
However, Mark’s passion for hiking was put in jeopardy when he began to experience knee pain due to arthritis 9 years ago. For a good two years, Mark pushed through the pain at work; but he would return home exhausted from the effort and unable to enjoy his favorite activities. The daily discomfort drove Mark to seek pain management for relief.
A year after starting knee injections, Mark was still not able to escape his knee pain. He was now limping, bow-legged, and unable to walk around the house. It wasn’t until he was leading an educational talk in Pittsburgh, in front of numerous potential customers, and he could barely stand to speak that he realized it was time to act. That moment spurred his research into knee replacement and an appointment with Dr. Fisher, a surgeon designer of the ATTUNE® Knee System. X-rays taken of Mark’s knees showed bone-on-bone contact, evidence that Mark had endured severe pain for far too long.
Mark’s research on knee replacement was largely influenced by the hospital’s educational curriculum, which gave Mark the opportunity to ask questions or voice any concerns he had throughout the process. Through this program, he even met with other knee replacement patients to learn what to expect, which helped Mark prepare mentally for the hard work ahead of him during physical therapy. In preparation, Mark sought out extra help in the form of a personal fitness trainer, who conveniently worked in his company’s Accounts Payable department. She worked with Mark for 4 months after his surgery, putting him through his paces with weightlifting, squats, lunges, and flexibility exercises. Reflecting on his journey to recovery, Mark commented, “I just dug into it and started working.” His trainer was ecstatic over his early results, 146 degrees of flexion in his knees and the ability to completely straighten his legs.
Mark worked hard at physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to achieve his ultimate goal of getting back to doing what he loved and hiking with his wife. Only 4 weeks after surgery, he decided to challenge himself. To see just how far he could go, his family set out on a hike at the local Turkey Run State Park in Indiana with his eyes set on 5 miles. Those miles came and went without an issue; so, true to Mark’s nature, he set his sights even higher. Last summer, Mark planned and completed a 4-day backpacking trip to the summit of Mt. Lindsey in Colorado, a trek of 8,000 ft in elevation change and his first ever backpacking trip. With no knee pain to hold him back, Mark met and exceeded the goals he set for himself and is now back to his active life with his wife, kids, and two new grandchildren. When asked what advice he would give a prospective knee replacement patient, Mark offered, “Rehab is so important to gaining back your mobility. Don’t give up.”
The performance of knee replacements depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. There are potential risks, and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if knee replacement is right for you.
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