Knee replacements, customized care plan have Irwin cheering again from the bleachers and soccer fields

Kathy Irwin’s weekends are filled with swimming and gymnastic meets, and basketball, soccer, hockey and baseball games. However, they weren’t before Dr. Steven Chudik with the Steven Chudik MD Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine Injury Clinic replaced her two arthritic knees. Just the thought of walking across acres of soccer fields over uneven ground, or climbing and sitting in bleachers was enough to keep Irwin from being part of her family’s active lives. “I still consider myself young and the mental image of being pushed in a wheel chair was the motivation I finally needed to face my white coat fear,” Irwin confessed. “I’m a medically conservative person. I managed my knee pain for nine years with various anti-inflammatories, ice, rest, cortisone shots and even hyaluronic-based gel injections. But, I was missing out on so many family activities that I had to finally do something about my knees,” she explained.

According to Irwin, her primary care doctor had been helpful and supportive through the years and understood her fears. “When I finally asked her to recommend someone that would be like her, she didn’t hesitate. She told me to see Dr. Chudik,” Irwin said. “So, I summoned the courage and made an appointment and haven’t looked back,” she asserted.

When it comes to his patients, Dr. Chudik takes a conservative approach to avoid surgery whenever possible and prefers to keep them active and mobile with their own parts. “However, for Kathy, her knee pain was so severe, knee replacement surgery was necessary to get her back to enjoying her life,” Dr. Chudik explained. “My care philosophy is to involve my patients in the decision making process. Each patient has individual needs, goals and lifestyles. I work with them to develop a treatment plan just for them. In Kathy’s case, she had anxiety from just being in my office, so from the start she needed to feel and understand that my team and I were here to help get her back to enjoying the active lifestyle she wanted and that she played an integral part of her treatment and recovery plan,” he added.

From Irwin’s perspective, Dr. Chudik’s bedside manner was refreshingly different and caring. “After sitting in his waiting room and seeing all the young athletes I didn’t think he’d be interested in treating someone like me,” Irwin said. “But from the start, Dr. Chudik and his team made me feel like a person, not a number or the patient in room No. 4. He really made me feel like he had my best interest at heart,” she added.

With two new knees, Irwin has enjoyed resuming her daily walks and being able to walk soccer fields and climb bleachers to attend all her grandchildren’s sporting events.