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patient success story

Back in the Saddle after Knee Replacement Surgery

By Molly Williams

Donald Burkhart, a retiree from Golconda, Illinois, loves to spend time with family and friends on horseback. He tries to ride a few days every week, although an old knee injury once threatened to keep him away from the reins forever.

After a knee injury at the early age of 23, Burkhart dealt with increasing weakness in his knee for years. In 1993, Burkhart underwent his first knee surgery. Time took its toll, however, and as Burkhart describes it, "the knee just wore out."

While accompanying his son-in-law on a doctor's visit, Burkhart was introduced to St. Louis orthopedic surgeon Joseph J. Williams, M.D.

After consulting with Burkhart, Dr. Williams proposed a knee replacement, the same technique that he had used for each of the knees of Burkhart's son-in-law. "Cartilage is a rubbery tissue that provides a smooth surface between bones in a joint", Williams explained. "In a healthy knee, cartilage covers the ends of the bones and creates a cushion between the thigh and shin bones".

"Osteoarthitis, a disease that affects almost everyone to some extent as he or she grows old, slowly and gradually breaks down the cartilage that covers the ends of each bone in a joint. Without their normally smooth gliding surfaces, the bones grind against one another, and this causes inflammation, pain, and restricted movement," said Williams.

Don Burkhart knows this story all too well. And although he did not choose to have osteoarthitis and knee pain, he chose to do something about it.

Dr. Joseph Williams performed a knee replacement, or knee resurfacing, on Burkhart at Des Peres Hospital in the winter of 2001. The knee replacement, which allowed both Burkhart and his son-in-law to resume the lifestyles they love, has also allowed hundreds of thousands of other Americans to lead normal active lives free of nagging joint pain.

Knee replacement surgery has become an increasingly successful option among orthopedic experts who specialize in joint replacement. Dr. Williams himself has performed the procedure on hundreds of patients from Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Kentucky. One can obtain information about osteoarthitis and its treatments, or about the next FREE seminar presented by Dr. Williams and his staff, by calling his office at the toll-free number listed below.

Like many Americans who have undergone such a procedure, Don Burkhart's story was a successful one. These days one can find Mr. Burkhart living happily in Golconda or returning home from a two or three-day ride alongside family and friends. "I have no problems with my knee at all," he says. "I'm quite able to ride as much as I want."