Knee instability issues have guided my life. At a young age, I was diagnosed with patellar instability due to patella misalignment. While I’ve always been an athlete, I often found myself sidelined because of repeated subluxations (partial dislocation of the knee).
I began physical therapy at age eight and I wore double knee braces when completing physical activity through middle school. Despite these prevention attempts, I still experienced multiple subluxations each month. During a sixth-grade basketball game, I fully dislocated my knee for the first time, partially tearing my MPFL ligament. This prompted my first, of many, rehab journeys to get back on the court. I began another round of PT and was cleared to return to sports three months later. For the next two years, I competed on competitive softball and basketball teams, still enduring subluxations in both knees. In eighth grade, I was referred to Dr. Strickland at HSS for a reevaluation of my condition.
At my first appointment, after MRI and x-ray assessments, Dr. Strickland told me that both of my kneecaps sat more than ten millimeters outside of where they were supposed to be. She continued to explain that if I wanted to continue to have an active lifestyle, she strongly recommended having surgery; however she warned me that the true “fix” could not happen until I had stopped growing, or my growth plates had closed. One month later, in December 2018, I underwent my first, of what would turn out to be four, knee surgeries. My first set of operations were bilateral MPFL reconstructions, ligament reconstructions that would tighten my knee caps into proper alignment. This MPFL reconstruction was part one of a two-part surgery (the second part being the Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy) that I would complete a few years later.
In December 2018 I had MPFL reconstruction on my left knee and in February 2019 I had the reconstruction on my right knee. After a total of eight months of rehab, I was cleared to return to sports in August before my freshman year of high school. At this point, I felt stronger than ever before and played a full high school volleyball season without any issues. Despite this success, in September 2020 I experienced my first subluxation since the operations. Returning to HSS, Dr. Strickland immediately booked me for my second set of surgeries. Two weeks later, October 2020, I had my first of two Tibial Tubercle Osteotomies, which is the orthopedic realignment of the Tibial Tubercle, and (another) MPFL reconstruction. Eight weeks later, December 2020, I returned to undergo my fourth, and final, knee operation.
Two days per week for the next nine months I worked with Lynne Roberts at HSS Sports Rehab - Wilton. After eight full years of PT, those last nine months were undoubtedly the best rehab experience I’d ever had. From relearning how to walk, jump, and run, Lynne helped me become the strongest version of myself. With her help, I’m now able to move in ways that were structurally impossible before my operations.
Last spring (2022), as a high school junior, I competed in my first spring high school softball season and I played the entire season without any knee issues. At the end of the season, I was awarded All-County 2nd team for my performance. Last week, my senior volleyball season came to a close, a bittersweet moment, yet I’m thrilled to have participated without any complications. I’m currently looking forward to my senior softball season. Until then, every time I step into the gym to keep my knees strong, step on the court to play a game of short-court with my teammates, or step onto the field to do infield drills, I’m thankful for my physical ability to do so. I’m beyond thankful for Dr. Strickland, Lynne, the donors that made my surgeries possible, and the HSS community as a whole for providing me with the opportunity to live an injury-free, active life.
If you’re thinking about undergoing the same surgery or a similar process and have questions, feel free to reach out to me.