Dr. Ramiro Miranda gave Ria a new lease on life with a knee replacement after a previous surgeon only made her knee pain worse.
Ria had always been very active, she walked 4-5 miles a day and loved dancing, always wearing heels. Around 2008, she started to notice her right knee would occasionally get inflamed after she had walked extra-long distances. Since the issue seemed to resolve after a short rest, she didn’t think it was anything too serious. Then in early 2009, she twisted the same knee while playing badminton.
“After a few days of rest and ice, my knee was still bothering me so I decided it was time to see a doctor,” says Ria.
She went to get it checked out by an orthopedic surgeon, not one with Muir Orthopaedic Specialists. The doctor said that Ria needed an arthroscopy to clean up the debris in the knee and that she would return to normal activities soon after.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. After the surgery, Ria’s swelling and pain continued and she felt no relief.
“I am not sure if something went wrong during the surgery, but it did not help anything and actually made things much worse,” says Ria.
Ria continued to go to physical therapy hoping it would help her get better. She was only 48 years old and was having a hard time doing the everyday things she needed to do.
“I was really disheartened and I did not know what to do. My quality of life was really affected in a negative way.”
Hoping for a change in her knee pain
She decided it was time to go back to the doctor. She changed surgeons but stayed with the same office. This new surgeon said that Ria had early onset arthritis in her knees. He started her on Orthovisc shots, a type of hyaluronic acid injection.
“The doctor explained it as WD-40 for the knees, providing cushioning so the joints don’t rub against each other.”
Ria continued these injections for a few years while keeping up with physical therapy. It did help some of the pain, but she still had to modify her workouts.
“Instead of walking I purchased a stationary bike and a rowing machine to do things that had less impact on my knees.”
Ria was growing depressed because she was not able to do the things she loves. The thought of getting a knee replacement worried her because she was young. She feared if she got a knee replacement now, she may need it replaced again later in life.
While Ria’s concern is valid, the advancements made in joint replacement surgeries have really resulted in them lasting longer.
Finding a skilled orthopedic surgeon at MOS
In 2014 Ria changed physical therapists. While discussing her journey, her physical therapist asked if she had considered surgery. She went home and started doing research, finding stories of both successful and unsuccessful knee replacements.
“I realized it makes a difference with how skilled the surgeon is. So I asked my new physical therapist for a recommendation.”
She was told about two surgeons who her physical therapist felt had successful track records. Ria researched one of the doctors and she did not feel he was the right fit for her.
On top of great care from Dr. Miranda, she also felt his physician assistant, Julie, was amazing and that they made a great team.
“I was apprehensive going into surgery. I was worried that my life would be over. But I felt I had to get it done because my quality of life was so adversely affected. I took a chance and it has worked out wonderfully.”
In August 2014, Dr. Miranda performed a minimally invasive knee replacement on her right knee. After surgery Ria stayed in the hospital for three days.
“Anyone thinking about getting a knee replacement should know it is a pretty long and painful recovery. But it is really important to not lose hope, continue doing the prescribed exercises and stay invested in your own recovery.”
Ria stayed on top of her physical therapy and was back working full time a month later.
Second time around with knee replacement
After a year and a half of a pain-free right knee, Ria’s left knee started hurting. This is common with arthritis; it can affect both joints but one may be more noticeable at the beginning.
Ria knew who to go to and made another appointment with Dr. Miranda. In January 2017 Ria had her second knee replacement surgery.
This one also went great and she had a smooth recovery. The swelling in the left knee did take a little longer to go down, but Dr. Miranda reassured Ria that it just needed some extra strengthening.
“My quality of life has improved dramatically,” says Ria on a phone call while she was also biking. “I was very fortunate to find the right surgeon. Dr. Miranda does a great job on these surgeries and I really lucked out.”
Ria is currently taking swing dance lessons but also is enjoying going out to the club. And what better way to enjoy a night out than in your favorite heels!
“I don’t need to wear heels – I am 5’9.” But they always make me feel better,” she says. “I was really worried that after surgery, I would have to turn them in for flats. But thankfully, that has not been the case.”
While working out, Ria is mindful of her knees and does not do high impact movements like running. But that was not something she did before surgery either.
“I would like to thank Dr. Miranda for giving me a new lease on life. He has been my savior and angel,” says Ria. “I do not know if I could find another surgeon who would be so invested in making me feel better. I really appreciate his kindness and concern for his patients. I also liked that Dr. Miranda is respectful of his patients and really listens to them and is not dismissive of their concerns. Thanks, Dr. Miranda!”