While teaching a fitness class in May 2012, Lisa Hall realized something was wrong with her knee.
After seeing an orthopaedic surgeon close to her home in Knoxville, Tenn., Hall was diagnosed with a tear in her meniscus, the soft disc of cartilage that cushions the knee. She underwent surgery to treat the injury and alleviate her pain so that she could continue to teach fitness classes and run. Her goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Unfortunately, Hall’s surgery was unsuccessful, and she developed bone-on-bone arthritis. In August 2012, she consulted with a second surgeon, looking for treatment options that could reduce her discomfort and allow her to continue her active lifestyle. It was then that she received some bad news: She was told she likely needed a knee replacement and that she should give up running.
Dr. Lattermann offers a solution
Lattermann specializes in treating injuries and other conditions that cause pain and degeneration of knee and shoulder joints. He recommended an osteotomy, a surgical procedure where a wedge of bone is removed from the tibia (shin bone) or femur (thigh bone) to realign the leg and shift weight from away from the area of the knee damaged by arthritis. In Hall’s case, the wedge was then filled with a bone graft and reinforced with a metal plate to support her knee.
Never one to shy away from a physical challenge, Hall completed physical therapy after surgery and was given the green light to use an indoor bike or elliptical to continue her recovery. Hall’s increased activity caused her knee pain to return, but it didn’t stop her from biking or participating in fitness classes again.
In May 2013, however, she felt a pop while performing a squat exercise and was forced to rest her knee with for five additional weeks after Lattermann surgically replaced the original plate supporting her knee.
Despite the setback, Hall followed Lattermann’s second rehabilitation instructions and returned to teaching group fitness classes. By December 2013, she was running on a special treadmill that reduced the impact of running on her knee joint. In March 2014, Hall competed in her first half marathon since her first surgery. She’s now completed two full marathons and several more half marathons.
“I really didn’t want a knee replacement, but no other doctor offered me anything else,” Hall said. “Dr. Lattermann offered me hope. I know that God led me to Dr. Lattermann and worked through him to allow me to run and teach again.”
In 2015, Lattermann removed the metal plate in her knee, and Hall continues to train. She missed her goal of qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon this past year by only two minutes.
‘Don’t give up’
The support Hall received from Lattermann and the care team at UK Sports Medicine is what keeps her returning to Lexington every six months for follow-up visits.
Lattermann’s advice for athletes hoping to maintain their level of activity is to talk about their goals with an orthopaedic surgeon who has expertise in both joint replacement and sports medicine. He also said it’s important for patients to understand the potential limitations of different treatment options.
“While one solution may allow high level of function, it may not allow complete pain-free activity,” Lattermann said.
Although Hall knows that not every surgical option works for every patient, she advises other patients to advocate for themselves.
“Keep searching, don’t give up – there are answers,” she said.
- Learn more about UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, which provides leading-edge treatment for a variety of injuries and conditions.
- Dr. Christian Lattermann recently became the first surgeon in Kentucky to perform a less-invasive form of knee cartilage repair surgery that helps patients recover faster.