Coming full circle - Paul Kolon
Physicians: Jeffrey Postma, DO
As an avid bicyclist of more than fifty years, having knees in tip-top shape is vital for Lawrence resident Paul Kolon.
“I’ve been riding on a pretty regular basis all my life,” said Paul. “Unfortunately, I started seeing signs of swelling and discomfort in my right knee when I rode long distances.”
Paul rides about 2,500 miles a year, covering some of those miles with bicycling groups. One longstanding riding buddy has been orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Postma, DO.
A team approach
When Paul’s knee continued to cause discomfort, he and Dr. Postma teamed up to assess the issue. After an initial consultation and x-rays, Dr. Postma decided to continue monitoring Paul’s knee as it wasn’t impacting his daily life at the time. However, Paul noticed gradual changes for the worse over the next two years.
Tests showed there was not enough cartilage under Paul’s kneecap to prevent it from rubbing against other areas of the knee. In addition, areas of bone in the joint were starting to calcify.
“I decided to get surgery,” said Paul. “I knew it wouldn’t get better and I trusted Dr. Postma’s opinion.”
Sooner rather than later
Paul knew he didn’t want to delay having a total knee replacement. He also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic played a factor in the decision, since traveling and other activities were limited.
“I didn’t have any concerns about having surgery during the pandemic,” he said. “The hospital was extremely careful with safety measures.”
Paul underwent surgery at Spectrum Health Lakeland Watervliet Hospital, including a standard one-night stay. He was out of bed and walking with a physical therapist the same day.
“Looking back, I know I made the right decision to do it sooner rather than later,” said Paul.
Paul also felt he made the right decision to trust Dr. Postma with his care.
“I could ask questions before and after surgery,” he said. “Dr. Postma has a great ability to listen to people.”
An exercise in diligence
Before surgery, Dr. Postma gave Paul a set of exercises to do, which helped strengthen the knee and surrounding muscles. That helped prepare Paul for his recovery. He has continued with the exercises after surgery as well.
“I’m very diligent about exercising and strengthening my knee,” said Paul. “I make an effort to stay active as much as possible.”
In the weeks after surgery, Paul also participated in physical therapy to help him regain mobility of his knee. When he got on a stationary bike for the first time, he could only pedal a half circle. But over time, his range of motion improved, and he was soon pedaling full circles again.
Now, Paul rides twenty five miles at a time without the pain and discomfort he used to experience. With Dr. Postma’s expertise, support from his physical therapy team, and Paul’s determination as a patient to stay diligent and work hard, everything has come full circle. He is back on his bike and stronger than ever.
Orthopedic surgeons are specially trained to help patients manage certain conditions, relieve pain, restore mobility and independence, or return to work and other daily activities. To find an orthopedic surgeon near you, call 888.313.9167