Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Claudia Tudhope, 62, of Grand Isle, likes going for long walks, working in her garden and playing tennis. But persistent knee pain recently forced her to give up some of those activities.
Formerly an active tennis player and skier, Tudhope was diagnosed with chondromalacia -- a condition affecting athletes that causes cartilage damage -- and later arthritis. She tried different treatments, including physical therapy and medications, but nothing seemed to work.
Finally, after many years of putting up with on-going pain, Tudhope opted for a total knee replacement. "I just got fed up with it and said, 'I want to have this done.'"
She went to Fletcher Allen orthopedic surgeon James Howe, M.D., for her surgery. Howe and the nurses at the Orthopedic Specialty Center did a great job of educating her about what to expect before, during and after surgery, Claudia said.
The procedure was a success and Claudia’s pain was well controlled post-surgery; she experienced very little discomfort. Physical therapists worked with her in the hospital to help her get moving as soon as possible. She continued doing physical therapy exercises every day at home.
Overall, the results were so good that a year later, Claudia went back to have the other knee done.
Today, she enjoys spending time in her garden and going for walks in the country where she lives. And this winter, she plans to get on skis.
"I feel like I have 20-year-old knees in a 62-year-old body," she said. "Just not being in pain anymore, that’s the best thing."