After years of battling arthritis, Sister Cindy, of the Carmelite Community of the Word, Gallitzin, Pa., opted to have a total knee replacement. Per post-surgery protocol, she began physical therapy, with a therapist visiting her at home.
Eventually, Sr. Cindy sought outpatient rehab at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services – Cresson, where she met physical therapist Kim Todaro, physical therapy assistant Corey Millward and office manager, Marci Urban.
"I chose CRS — Cresson because it was only ten minutes away from my home. I stayed at CRS — Cresson because everyone in the office was truly wonderful," Sr. Cindy says. "Kim, Corey, and Marci treated me with the upmost respect. They continually took my physical and emotional well-being into account."
Sr. Cindy's total knee replacement, performed by Adrian Clayton, DO, a UPMC orthopaedic surgeon, was the start of her journey back to a relatively pain-free life.
“From the moment I walked in the door at CRS, I felt welcomed and comfortable. The staff had my best interests in mind.”
The following six weeks included physical therapy sessions three times a week to help her new knee.
"Kim and Corey challenged me to do the exercises as well as I could, and then push a little further past that, but always ensured I was not in too much pain," Sr. Cindy explains.
Throughout the course of her treatment, Sr. Cindy got to know the staff at CRS Cresson quite well.
“Marci was always so welcoming and cheerful when I would come in. We also came to the discovery that I grew up and was friends with Kim’s aunt!”
The little connections and kind interactions further solidified in her mind that Sr. Cindy had made the right choice in her therapy.
“I am confident that this is how the staff at CRS Cresson treats every single patient they have and I am so grateful for their dedication to my therapy and consideration for my feelings.”
The therapists also took the time to understand what activities Sr. Cindy was most looking forward to returning —primarily her work.
"They inquired about the type of mobility I would need to have to get back to doing my job and then incorporated exercises specific to that into my therapy routine."
Typically, therapy for a total knee replacement works on getting the patient mobile as quickly as possible. Exercises range from basic knee bends to using resistance bands, simple ankle weights, and practicing stairs to simulate real-life movements. While each patient’s therapy experience is different, most patients can expect to be working on mobility and getting accustomed to their new knee.
Kim and Corey had a very clear path for Sr. Cindy and incorporated exercises that they knew would help achieve her goals.
"My therapists developed a very regimented plan of exercises. As the weeks went on and I became stronger, they increased the weight, tightened the bands, and raised the steps to help push me to total healing."
When Sr. Cindy returned to Dr. Clayton for a follow up appointment, she was cleared to return to work. "I was very pleased with my appointment with Dr. Clayton and the mobility I had only six weeks after surgery. I know that this would not have been possible without the therapists at CRS Cresson."
Sr. Cindy knew even though she was returning to work, her physical therapy was not over yet.
"Kim and Corey recognized that I would want to continue my therapy at home and were able to set up specific exercises to help keep me mobile and continually healing."
Since most of her job is sedentary — sitting at a desk and in meetings for hours — Kim and Corey taught Sr. Cindy simple ways to keep herself from getting too stiff during the work day.
"I am able to do the stairs remarkably well and know that even a short walk around the building will keep me from stiffening up during the day."
Sr. Cindy looked forward to returning to her work — preparing teenage members of the community for religious sacraments — as well as getting back to her daily hobbies.
"I was tired of living with constant pain and not being able to do the things I wished to do. I am so excited for the months ahead and getting back to my favorite daily activities without the constant pain and pressure in my knee.
"I would highly recommend CRS Cresson to anyone. The people in that office are truly amazing. They are the ones that made my experience the positive one that it was. I believe that the therapists at CRS Cresson were put into my life for a reason and I am so thankful for their help in getting me back to doing the things I love."