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Keep walking with knee replacement surgery

John Covington is grateful for the great work of Angie Honstad, MD, and the entire orthopedic team at New Ulm Medical Center who performed a knee replacement procedure last winter. He was so impressed with their good work that he’s coming back for his other knee and said, “I don’t know why I would have gone anywhere else.”

More than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. One of those 600,000 knees belonged to New Ulm resident John Covington. This past February, Covington finally got to say goodbye to a life with discomfort after receiving a new knee at New Ulm Medical Center.

“At times, there were sharp pains when I tried to walk,” said Covington, as he reflected on his life before surgery. “I was just gradually watching my symptoms get worse and worse.”

As the largest joint in the body, it’s easy to see why knees perform everyday activities best when they are healthy. If not, there’s pain and discomfort in most movements. Covington began experiencing these symptoms around four years ago and shortly after, he went to New Ulm Medical Center for his first appointment.

“They went above and beyond for me,” said Covington.

Knee replacement starts with an expert team

Angie Honstad, MD, orthopedic surgeon at New Ulm Medical Center, knows the importance of quality care and helps to bring top-notch service to her patients every day.

“Everyone here puts the patient first,” said Honstad, “We’ve got a great team.” New Ulm Medical Center staff is ready to be a part of every patient’s journey.

Honstad knows the knee replacement journey very well.

“Normally knee injuries are caused from arthritis. Our patients tend to come in with achy pain that gets worse with activities,” she said.

New Ulm Medical Center orthopedic providers consider a variety of treatments before discussing surgery. However, if symptoms progress, a knee replacement may be suggested.

“If someone’s contemplating replacement, don’t be afraid to do it,” advised Covington. He pointed to the quality of life he has now regained, along with the pain he’s been able to eliminate.

Covington’s praise for his new knee echoed with praise for New Ulm Medical Center. “I don’t know why I would have gone anywhere else.”

Honstad attributes this to her team’s education, experience and personal touch. “Everyone knows each other. Within a small facility, I can know who I’m working with and how they like to work.” She believes this added element helps her provide the best care she can.

This dedication and support translate to helping patients with preventive care and helpful advice.

For example, Honstad suggests that there are many ways to prevent further damage to your knees, while keeping your muscles strong and staying active. She recommends avoiding high-impact exercises such as running, as it puts more stress on the joints, and sticking with low-impact exercise, such as swimming or bicycling.

A full recovery

New Ulm Medical Center’s full-range of services provides extensive follow-up care for patients, often including physical therapy appointments.

“The clinic was great. The physical therapist helped me with detailed stretches,” said Covington. “After the procedure, I could see myself progress with each session.”

Honstad holds her team to high standards, making sure each patient has a successful recovery.

“My goal is to get them out of bed the same day as their surgery. It’s good to get motion back as soon as we can,” she said.

Honstad shared her insight for those considering a knee replacement, noting that recovery time will be different for everyone. Most of the healing takes place in six weeks, but patients can expect to still see a lot of improvement in three to six months.

Covington’s recovery has been going smoothly since his time at New Ulm Medical Center.

“The thing I noticed most about my knee is I don’t have pain when I’m walking anymore. It’s like I don’t notice anything that I shouldn’t be doing with my knee,” said Covington.

“I regained the motion I had lost prior to my knee replacement,” said Covington, “It was one of my biggest objectives, and I have achieved it.” He thanks New Ulm Medical Center for helping to get there. “I’m planning on having the other knee replaced sometime this spring, and I have no qualms about getting it done.”

New Ulm Medical Center’ quality of care is excellent. With low infection rates, private rooms, great resources and extensive experience throughout the team, New Ulm’s facility provides high-quality support close to home and ensures that success stories like Covington’s can continue to be told.

To learn more about Honstad, visit allinahealth.org/honstad. To learn more about joint replacement options, visit allinahealth.org/numc-orthopedic, or make an appointment by calling 507-217-5011.

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