Dedication to rehab lands three-time joint replacement patient back on her feet

Pictured: Marina Zytko (R)
Agnieszka Wozniak (L)

Advanced arthritis took its toll on both of Marina Zytko’s hips and her right knee to such an extent that the Certified Nursing Assistant relied on a walker to get around.

According to her orthopedic surgeon, Vineet Shah, DO, MPH, FAAOS, x-rays revealed that the femoral heads, or balls, of both hips were completely destroyed. Her right knee was bone-on-bone with large bone spurs.

Starting in October of 2020, Marina underwent three separate total joint replacements within a period of a little over five months.

After eight months of outpatient rehabilitation, she was able to return to work in August of 2021.

“Therapy begins a few days after a joint replacement surgery,” said Dr. Shah. “After each replacement surgery she experienced good physical therapy sessions.”

Marina credits Dr. Shah and her work in outpatient therapy with her ability to walk unassisted. She attended therapy three times a week, learning how to bend and lift her legs appropriately and perform leg extensions. She learned how to correctly use a walker, progressed to a cane, then eventually walked on her own.

“I didn’t even know how to use a walker until I got into therapy,” Marina said. “It was a struggle, but it was well worth it. And I got to where I can drive a car again by myself.”

Methodist Hospitals physical therapist, Agnieszka Wozniak, worked with Marina on her rehab.

“I tell my patients that the success of recovery after successful surgery relies on therapy and patient involvement,” said Wozniak. “Marina was very compliant, very hard-working.”

Many first-time joint replacement patients are afraid that movement will cause them pain. Wozniak tells them that it gets better every day, and what they cannot do today, they will be able to do tomorrow or in a week or two.

According to Wozniak, Marina was motivated by her objective to return to working with her patients, which entailed going to their homes and often climbing stairs.
“Her main goal was to be able to help other people again,” Wozniak said.

Now fully back to the work she loves, Marina advises joint replacement patients to maintain a positive attitude and push themselves despite the pain.

“If it wasn’t for my rehab therapist and my doctor, I would not be doing as well as I’m doing right now,” Marina said. “It was well worth it.”

Vineet Shah, DO

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