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Sarah Kelly

New York, NY

My one-year-old twin daughters had just started walking the month before my knee injury. I was jogging home from work on a summer evening in NYC and badly dislocated my left kneecap. I'd dealt with knee instability my whole life, including during four years playing squash for Harvard. But when my best friend and former teammate picked me up at the emergency room (my husband was stuck at work), we both had the same sinking feeling that this injury was worse than anything I'd experienced before.

I made one more misstep after the initial fall: I didn't go straight to HSS. Instead, I had a failed surgery to repair my MPFL and quad tendon, which left me - despite months dedicated to a rigorous and incredibly painful PT regimen - able bend my knee a mere 15 degrees. To do normal activities, like walking, going up and down stairs, sitting in a chair, and running, you need between 60 and 120 degrees range of motion. After a bad injury followed by a bad surgery, I was rendered completely immobile and without any answers.

At a point of peak frustration about my situation, a friend suggested I see Dr. David Altchek at HSS. After our first appointment, I felt infinitely better. He reviewed my post-op x-rays with me and explained what had gone wrong and how he could fix it. He showed both compassion and confidence. I’ve always had a great appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to the medical field, and Dr. Altchek and his entire team are an incredible example of that dedication.

The instant I woke up from the surgery, I could feel that my knee was better. With time and PT, including with Patrick Vignona at the HSS Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, I was back to doing the things I love: caring for my kids, walking all over NYC and keeping in shape. When I was unable to bend my knee, riding a bicycle again seemed impossible. Spinning was the first rigorous activity I was able to do after the surgery, and has become one of my favorite ways to get exercise. I saw Dr. Altchek and his PA Keith Williamson every few months for a year after the surgery, and each time I was met with encouraging words and a feeling that we had accomplished something great together.