Kasey Guentert has always led an active lifestyle. Growing up, she played softball and flag football and even competed on “American Gladiator.”
“I’ve always been athletically inclined and love being active. But when I started experiencing some knee issues, I wanted to find an activity that would be less painful on my joints, so I took up cycling and fell in love with it,” Guentert said.
The 53-year-old Heights resident has participated in the MS 150 numerous times and is also a member of the Saint Arnold Bike Team. However, even though cycling was better for her knee than running or other activities, she still was experiencing nagging knee pain that was uncomfortable at best.
“I had six surgeries on my right knee and injections and all sorts of things, but nothing was really helping. That’s when I decided to seek out Dr. Rodriguez-Quintana with UT Physicians upon the recommendation of several friends,” she said.
During her first appointment, David Rodriguez-Quintana, MD, took X-rays and was amazed at what he saw.
“I asked Kasey how old she was because the X-rays revealed extensive damage to her knee,” said Rodriguez-Quintana, who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “If Kasey had been even overweight, her entire knee would have collapsed. As a result, she wouldn’t have been able to walk.”
Rodriguez-Quintana examined Kasey and recommended a total knee replacement to curb the pain and return her range of motion.
“I guess I didn’t realize how much pain I was actually in and had just gotten used to it. I had been forcing myself to ride through the pain,” she said.
Right place, right time
Rodriguez explained the procedure to her and how it would work. Guentert, who worked in orthopedic sales, knew what she was getting into and was a little nervous but decided to schedule her surgery for March. However, at the end of March, Guentert had second thoughts and decided to put it off. At this point, she had been training for the MS 150 and had decided not to do the actual ride; however, she wanted to get her knee in the best possible shape for surgery by training for it. After much deliberation, she eventually rescheduled the surgery for the end of April – five days before the MS 150.
Fast forward, Guentert’s surgery went well. The most time-consuming part of the procedure was removing a tibial plate that had been placed in Guentert’s knee almost 25 years ago. Otherwise, the operation went as planned, and she went home.
Back to biking
Always active and constantly on the go, Guentert was eager to get back on her bike. Ten days post-op, she rode her mountain bike around her neighborhood, and three months later, she rode 100 miles – breaking her personal record by almost 12 minutes.
“I still get a little swelling, but I think that’s probably normal. My range of motion is great, and there is absolutely zero pain inside my knee, which is miraculous. Before the surgery, the first few steps out of bed each morning were excruciating; now, I am as good as new,” Guentert said.
In addition to cycling, Guentert participates in high-intensity workouts three to four days a week – if not five – including jumping rope and burpees.
Guentert is immensely grateful to Rodriguez-Quintana for returning her to tip-top shape and the active lifestyle she loves.
“Overall, it was a great experience. Dr. Rodriguez-Quintana is the best around and takes the time to address your questions personally. He allowed me to do what I love without pain,” she said.
Guentert is now riding up to 175 miles a week with minor stiffness and no pain. She is planning to do the MS 150 again this spring, with a full appreciation for her journey.
“If I had undergone the full knee replacement procedure five years ago, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much. Between Dr. Rodriguez-Quintana’s outstanding care and my physical therapy, I’ve returned to top condition and have an optimistic outlook for the future,” Guentert said.