I came to HSS after a debilitating left knee dislocation that resulted in several torn ligaments, a hamstring avulsion and nerve transection that resulted in drop foot. Before I came to HSS the doctors I spoke with wanted to reconstruct the knee in two stages, resulting in a long period of incapacitation. Thankfully Dr. Marx examined me and expressed his intention to repair the knee in just one surgery. My stay at HSS was as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Six weeks after the surgery I began partial weight-bearing and soon after began physical therapy. My strength came back quickly but as predicted scar tissue formed around my knee and mobility gains were slow and painful. A few months after the first surgery I came back to HSS to remove scar tissue, after which I gained mobility very quickly. A year after the first surgery the knee was strong and mobile and I was going about daily life in a normal fashion. I could walk briskly with heavy loads and even do intense low impact lower body strength training.
At this point I still had drop foot so I went in to HSS again to consult about possibly getting a tendon transfer that would hold my left foot up and possibly – although this was not promised – be able to dorsiflex my left foot a little. Dr. Ellis performed the surgery and I was in for another year of physical therapy. Improvements happened right on schedule, and a few weeks after the surgery I was delighted to discover that by trying to invert my left foot I was also able to dorsiflex! I had to train my brain to send signals to my foot again, which was an amazing experience. I did physical therapy religiously, and by the end when I went in for my last check-up Dr. Ellis and his team were amazed to see that I was walking almost as if the injury had never happened.
At this time, six years after the accident, it would be hard to tell without looking closely that I was ever injured. I can do pretty much everything I did before the accident except for a few high impact unilateral activities like running and kickboxing. I can walk briskly, even run short distances, I can squat heavy (recent record was 220 lbs) and am completely independent in my daily activities. There was a time during this long process when I and the HSS team truly weren’t sure I would ever be able to walk again without orthotics. It is a true testament to their skill that my recovery was as complete as it was. I am eternally grateful to the brilliant Drs. Marx and Ellis, as well as their whole staff.