Fitness Instructor Back in Class After Innovative Procedure With Dr. Tom Antkowiak

Keeping fit during COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, as many area residents may know. For Frankfort-area fitness instructor Marisa S., 59, the past year brought a number of new challenges while also making one long-term challenge worse: her knee. The mother of four, grandmother, and former figure competitor is no stranger to working hard and keeping fit, but chronic knee pain and joint instability were getting in her way.

“Before COVID, in my class, I’d have 40 to 50 people in it, and you kind of get a high off that as an instructor. So, you get caught up in it and the next thing, I’m thinking ‘oh, am I going to regret this later,’ and then literally that afternoon or the next day I would be laid up,” Marisa explained. “It got to the point when I would just go out for just a brisk walk in the neighborhood, I could hear this click in my knee, and the bone started slipping out.”

Marisa decided it was time for a visit at OAK Orthopedics, where both Marisa and her son had previously received expert care. After consulting with sports surgery specialist Dr. Tom Antkowiak, affectionately known as Dr. A, Marisa ultimately moved forward with a partial knee replacement because her arthritis was limited to only part of her knee.

“Many patients only wear out half of their knee joint. Why replace the whole knee when only half is problematic? Partial knee replacements address a specific problematic area while preserving the normal parts of the knee,” explains Dr. A. “This often leads to a more natural-feeling knee, a faster recovery, and less operative time and operative pain. Range of motion and function are restored quickly, often within a few weeks.”

Marisa benefitted from both the partial knee replacement approach and the added precision of the robotic assistance using the state-of-the-art Mako® system that Dr. A and many of his colleagues at OAK Orthopedics are leading experts in. 

“Robotically assisted surgery provides the surgeon with an unparalleled level of precision. Outcomes from robotically assisted partial knee replacements are excellent. The vast majority of patients are very satisfied with their results,” says Dr. A. “Component placement is statistically better with robotically assisted surgery, and patients often have less discomfort and a faster initial recovery.”

Marisa’s procedure was performed the morning of October 23. She was back home recovering that afternoon. After her procedure, Marisa completed 12 weeks of physical therapy, and given her background, she has continued strengthening her knee on her own. 

“I’m completely healed, you know. I’m ready to go,” says Marisa, who’s now back to teaching multiple classes. “I go up and down the stairs and run up and down them. It’s no problem. I don’t have any pain at all, and I haven’t had pain in forever.”

COVID-19 may have slowed our community down, but leaders like Marisa and Dr. A are still committed to moving forward and helping the Chicago area do the same. 

If you’d like to speak with Dr. A or one of the many joint replacement experts at OAK Orthopedics to see if you’re a candidate for a robotic-assisted joint replacement, we encourage you to contact our team today at one of our four locations in Bradley, FrankfortMokena, or Watseka. Call (815) 928-8050 for our Bradley or Watseka office or (815) 469-3452 for our Frankfort office, or request an appointment online.