Mark Eberhardt had always led an active lifestyle. Although these days you might find him navigating the slopes during the winter months, Eberhardt is no stranger to most athletic activities.
“Competitively, I’ve played just about everything. Baseball, football, volleyball; you name it, I’ve played it,” he says.
Eberhardt, 57, is also a landscape architect, spending long days on his feet canvassing sites. And while an active lifestyle may have been good for his health, it was starting to take its toll on his knees. After years of wear and tear, Eberhardt found himself suffering from severe arthritis in both of his knees.
Although he knew he needed to do something, Eberhardt was worried about the prospect of leaving his lifestyle behind. But when the pain began to interfere with his daily life, he decided to find a solution. Eberhardt made an appointment with Jess Lonner, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with the Rothman Institute at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
During his early appointments with Dr. Lonner, Eberhardt talked to Dr. Lonner about his concerns, and was relieved to find how receptive his surgeon was.
“My knees were arthritic, sure, but I was active. I didn’t want to have surgery and only be able to walk and move around. I wanted to continue to ski at a very high level. From the very beginning, Dr. Lonner understood that,” Eberhardt recalls.
In order to treat Eberhardt’s arthritis, Dr. Lonner recommended a total knee replacement of both knees. But rather than schedule a surgery right away, the two delayed the surgery for almost one year and focused on developing and implementing a safe, pre-surgical workout plan for Eberhardt that would help expedite his recovery after surgery and allow him a quicker and more comfortable return to his active lifestyle.
After a long period of preparation, Dr. Lonner and Eberhardt met again for surgery in February of 2014 to undergo total knee replacements, which would help correct more than just Eberhardt’s arthritis.
“As Mark’s knees became increasingly more hobbled by severe arthritis, it also caused his knees to become more bowed and deformed,” explains Dr. Lonner. “By performing total knee replacements for both of his knees, we not only took away his arthritis, we were able to straighten both of his knees and eliminate those deformities.”
A Rapid Recovery
In the days and weeks following his surgery, Eberhardt was already noticing the benefits of his pre-surgery preparatory plan with Dr. Lonner. Supplemented by work with a physical therapist, the plan had put Eberhardt far ahead of schedule in terms of his recovery, and he was pleased with the results.
“When I came out of surgery, I was so far ahead in terms of my rehab, and that significantly accelerated my recovery,” says Eberhardt. “I’m very driven physically, so this was almost like another athletic challenge for me.”
Within two weeks of his surgery, Eberhardt was back at work, on his feet and walking comfortably without a cane. Within one year, he was back to ski trips—and then some.
“I’ve been able to get back to things that I haven’t done for five or six years because I was so uncomfortable. I can finally hike and play golf again, two things that I love, but that I haven’t been able to do for so long. I'm able to do all the routine things we sometimes take for granted, such as normal walking, navigating steps, mowing the lawn, performing routine chores and functions without pain. I owe Dr. Lonner a huge debt of gratitude,” he says.