To say Tom Hannah likes to bike is an understatement. The 64-year-old lives to bike and pedals dozens of miles every day.
“My goal is about 300 miles a month,” Tom says. “Being healthy. Being active. That’s my lifestyle.”
That lifestyle was about to change a few years ago, when Tom’s knees couldn’t keep up with Tom.
“I play golf, and the guys I play golf with would comment after a round of golf that, by the end, I’d be hobbling pretty good,” Tom said. “I would wake up in the middle of the night. It was either the pain that woke me up, or I woke up and had the pain.”
The pain even started to impact his cycling. That’s when Tom had to make a decision – stop moving or move forward with new knees.
“I made the decision to have the surgery and never looked back after that,” Tom said.
Tom is not the only one.
“We do about 1,300 knee replacements per year,” says Dr. Peter Rink, an Orthopedic Surgeon with ORA Orthopedics. “Nationally, it’s in the millions – four or five million per year.”
Dr. Rink says joint disease is a very common problem that can stem from genetics, aging, being really active or not active enough.
“Just as a tire wears all the way to where there’s no tread, the cartilage will wear all the way down to the bone, so that you can have bone on bone; and those are the people who really start having some problems,” Dr. Rink said.
This common problem has a common solution. A metal and plastic impact can be glued onto the knee so it moves smoothly and moves with you.
“It can flex and extend and be stable with the ligaments,” says Dr. Rink.
“I think if I hadn’t had surgery, I probably wouldn’t really be walking right now,” said Tom. He has had both knees replaced.
With retirement right around the corner, Tom said he continues to cycle with his friends, which now includes his doctor, Dr. Rink.
“It’s always the patient’s choice which doctor they see, but I certainly enjoy taking care of friends,” said Dr. Rink.
“You know, there’s doctors all over the Quad Cities,” said Tom. “They all are probably pretty good at what they do. It’s just a comfort level. If you feel comfortable with what he’s going to do, and how he’s going to do it, that’s what you want; and I had that comfort.
What’s more, Dr. Rink said patients go through knee replacement surgery easier than ever before. He said patients would have to spend a week in the hospital in the past, but nowadays, most patients are only hospitalized for a couple of days.
*Let’s Move QC is a new segment on WQAD. It’s all about being the best version of you by introducing viewers to real people in the Quad Cities who are doing just that, with a little extra help from the surgeons at ORA Orthopedics. The stories air the last Monday of every month during News 8 at 5 p.m.