ACL Tear, Orthopaedic Surgery

Photo of Rachelle lifting weights

Doing it all isn't easy. Caring for your family, going to work, and getting in your exercise is not a balance easily struck. Rachelle Haworth is familiar with this challenge. As a mother of three and a nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Rachelle used CrossFit, skiing and surfing to de-stress and stay in shape.

Pushing the Limit

Unfortunately, after injuring her knee, "doing it all" became much more complicated. An avid Crossfitter, Rachelle had grown accustom to pushing her body to its maximum. Minor injuries sustained during her workout were left untreated—continuing to slow down her performance.

Despite the underlying pain, she pushed through, adding more and more weight to her lifts. When her local CrossFit gym decided to host a competition, Rachelle couldn't resist the opportunity. "I was in a competition and I heard this snap. I reached out to Penn Orthopaedics and that's where my journey began," said Rachelle.

The Road to Recovery

Photo of Rachelle doing chakrasana yoga pose on a surfboard

Being a nurse, Rachelle wanted to regain full mobility as quickly as possible. An accurate diagnosis, quick recovery and a reputation for excellence were important factors leading her to seek treatment at Penn Medicine.

Rachelle visited Penn Sports Medicine physician Miltiadis H. Zgonis, MD. Within ten days of diagnosis, Dr. Zgonis performed surgery to repair Rachelle's ACL. That same day, Rachelle was released from the hospital—beginning physical therapy and rehabilitation a few days later.

Although Rachelle had regained full-extension of her knee immediately after the surgery, as more time passed and the physical therapy intensified, she noticed she had lost some of the extension regained with the surgery.

After another MRI was conducted to investigate the loss of extension, Dr. Zgonis located abnormalities in the region of her reconstruction: she had started reforming bone in front of the reconstructed ligament, preventing her from fully straightening her knee. With that, she underwent a subsequent minor procedure to remove the new bone formation.

Back in Action

Photo of Rachelle walking on log bridge

Immediately after the second surgery, Rachelle's pain was gone and full knee extension was regained. A few days later, Rachelle was able to participate in high-intensity workouts—free of nagging aches. "I feel very positive about my experience... I always got in as soon as I needed to," said Rachelle.

With her knee back to 100%, Rachelle can enjoy the things she loves—exercising, working as a nurse and spending time with her family—pain free.

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