Patient Stories

Thomas J. Klein, MD

Years of running had left Chris with almost no cartilage in his right knee. As his pain worsened, the 52-year-old electrical contractor from Ashburn tried every non-operative remedy he could think of to avoid surgery – rest, over-the-counter medications, physical therapy and cortisone injections. But the pain always returned. 

Finally, he reached the breaking point. “I couldn’t ignore the pain any longer,” he says. “It impacted my daily life significantly. I walked with a limp; I couldn’t be as active as I wanted to be. When I’d go on hikes with my family, I’d spend most of the time sitting on a bench.” 

Chris was ready to consider knee replacement. And he knew where to turn: OrthoVirginia surgeon Thomas Klein, MD. Dr. Klein had performed ACL reconstruction on Chris’s wife and Chris had been seeing him ever since for his knee pain. By the time he made the decision to have a knee replacement, he was surprised to learn that his left knee was nearly as bad as his right. Dr. Klein suggested that he have both knees replaced at the same time.

Chris knew the challenges he faced, but he also understood the advantages of having both knees replaced in a single surgical episode – the biggest being one rehabilitation period rather than two separate recoveries. He began physical therapy about a month before surgery to strengthen the muscles around his knees and, two days before Christmas, Dr. Klein performed the bilateral replacement. Chris was up and walking that evening and achieved his goal to be home with his family the following night, Christmas Eve. He began his post-op physical therapy the day after Christmas, gradually adding range of motion and strength. Within a week, he was able to return to work part-time at his electrical business. And within two months, he was back to doing all the things he hadn’t been able to do for so many years without pain – riding a bike, using the elliptical trainer, hiking in the woods and playing golf. 

The recovery went smoothly for Chris and he advises others to move forward with knee replacement, even if they feel they are too young for the procedure. “For the first time in seven years I am walking without pain,” he says. “I don’t see any reason for anyone to lose 10 years of quality time because they are only 50 when their knees go bad. To wait because you think you’re too young is a terrible mistake. This really gave me back so many things I didn’t have.”