Young at Heart with the Joints to Go with It

A joyful man in his late-70s, Richard Zandstra is in constant motion. He swims, walks, bikes, golfs, gardens and cross country skis in the winter months. Being active is part of his very being. Zandstra wants to live life to the fullest, so that includes remaining healthy and active.

“My right knee with the first replacement was fine, but over time, my left knee got progressively worse. It finally got to the point that I couldn’t walk anymore, and that’s when I told my wife I needed to see an orthopedist,” Zandstra explained.

Board Certified orthopedic knee and hip replacement surgeon Kevin Kane, MD, turns to surgery as a last resort. “We try medications, injections and physical therapy first, but it can come to the point where the best solution is knee replacement,” said Kane. “The timing was good for Richard because today’s artificial knees can last 20 years or more. I told him that he wouldn’t wear out this new knee!”

The Joint Class Zandstra attended before surgery was particularly helpful. “I knew in advance that I would be asked to move, move, move after surgery, so I was glad that Mercy Health offers a class before surgery that helps you strengthen your muscles so you heal faster and have an easier time with PT. Because I swim, I also got ready by using a kick board in the pool.”

Kane attributes Zandstra’s quick recovery to several factors, including his patient’s outstanding physical shape before surgery, his positive attitude, and his determination to complete post-operative physical therapy.

“We had Richard up and walking on the first day because the quicker people get out of bed, the happier they feel,” said Kane. “It’s really satisfying to work with patients and take them from a place of pain to a place where they feel better enough to walk without a cane or walker. Richard was firmly engaged in getting better, and he is the type of patient who is a cheerleader for the other patients in therapy. We were amazed by how quickly Richard progressed following surgery.”

So why Mercy Health? “I chose Mercy Health because I had previous surgery here on my right knee, and it turned out great,” Zandstra said. “At Mercy Health there is a lot of attention to individual needs. When it’s all said and done, they offer a caring, personalized experience.”

Medical expertise cannot be underestimated either. Mercy Health’s many fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons have led to the distinct honor of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is named the only hospital in the state of Michigan that is accredited by the Joint Commission for hip, knee and shoulder replacements.

“Don’t hesitate to consult a medical specialist. You have to keep moving to stay healthy, and if moving your legs causes pain, your life will be diminished. Today I feel great and have no pain. The whole experience at Mercy Health was good.”

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