No one expects the pain of arthritis to cripple a thirty-something adult, but that’s what Westchester middle school teacher, Mallory Chinn, was faced with. For five years, Mallory tried every non-operative treatment available to ease the worsening pain in her knees. Some treatments would work for a while. Others did not work at all. By the time Mallory turned 40, she had trouble walking and climbing stairs, and missed out on family activities such as bike rides and hikes in the woods.
“I was pretty much immobilized,” recalled Mallory, now 43. The defining moment came one day when her youngest child, then 7 years old, ran ahead of her. “When I tried to chase up the hill after him, I was stopped in my tracks by an excruciating stab in my knee. I thought, 'This is ridiculous. How can I be so young and immobile?'”
By this time, Mallory’s knees had severe, bone-on-bone arthritis. She thought of the life she wanted to have in the years ahead and it didn’t include constant pain and physical limitations.
“I wanted to be active and keep up with my kids, so I decided to go for it,” she said of her decision to undergo a double knee replacement procedure.
In August 2017, Dr. Demetris Delos of Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists, performed the surgery, which went according to plan. Mallory recuperated for the first few weeks at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. Upon release, she went to a number of local physical therapy (PT) centers to continue her rehab program. Time after time, she was disappointed by the therapists’ indifference to her concerns and pain. As soon as Mallory learned that ONS had a state-of-the-art physical therapy center at the Harrison office, she made an appointment. At ONS, she found the physical therapists were kind and highly-skilled at helping joint replacement patients get moving again.
“Everyone made it a happy, safe place to heal. I actually looked forward to going to therapy because it felt like I was a part of a big family,” she said. Mallory praised the therapists and PT techs and the integrated care she received.
“The people at ONS were always there if I had questions or needed a prescription refill. Whenever Dr. Delos was at the Harrison office, he always came over to PT to see how I was doing,” she said. Dr. Alex Levchenko, an ONS physiatrist, helped Mallory transition from narcotics to alternative pain management strategies. “I didn’t even know there were doctors who could do that,” she said.
Mallory was particularly impressed by the amount of time Robert Spatz, MPT, who is also the director of PT at that office, spent working with her.
“In other places, I’d see the therapist for a minute and then I’d be handed over to a tech for the rest of the hour. Robert always gave me a big chunk of his time,” she said. “He was respectful of my tolerance and goals and went out of his way to educate me about each step of the recovery process.”
Mallory went to PT three times a week until she “graduated” in December of that year when she was strong and stable enough to take a tailor-made workout to her gym.
Since then, Mallory has fully reclaimed mobility in her life and enjoys activities with her friends and family. She has hiked in the mountains of Colorado, and can spend an entire day walking around New York City. At a summer camp last year, Mallory led a group of 30 girls through a physically challenging Ninja Race course. In May, Mallory picked up a jump rope during her school’s Wellness Week, and got hopping. “I wasn’t the bounciest person out there, but I could never have done it before my knee replacements,” she said.
ONS has offices in Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut and Harrison, New York. Learn more at onsmd.com.