myUOIstory: After Knee Replacement, Kathryn’s Back in the Saddle

In addition to being a busy physician who’s on her feet all day caring for patients, Dr. Kathryn Banner is also a lower-level dressage rider.

It’s a sport that requires a lot of core strength and stamina.

“We have to consider ourselves athletes out there,” Kathryn said.

Over the years, Kathryn has suffered multiple sports-related knee injuries. Most recently, a fall from her horse resulted in a tibial plateau fracture.

She was told one day she’d likely need a knee replacement.

“Well, that happened sooner than I thought it would.”

As the injury healed, her leg became valgus–a knock-knee deformity that caused the knee to turn in.

When the pain became too much, Kathryn went to see Dr. Derek Jenkins, an adult joint reconstruction specialist at University Orthopedics.

Dr. Jenkins confirmed Kathryn’s knee needed to be replaced and suggested an implant he knew would allow her to return to the activities she loves – including horseback riding.

“I trusted him to do whatever he thought was right,” Kathryn said.

“Everyone is different and has different goals after surgery. That’s why we tailor each procedure to the individual patient and their needs,” Dr. Jenkins said.

In addition to replacing the joint, Dr. Jenkins also straightened Kathryn’s leg.

“As joint surgeons, it’s not about just putting in the implant,” Dr. Jenkins said. “It’s placing the implant in a way so the joint is more functional than where the patient was before.”

After her surgery, Kathryn returned to competition and even won a blue ribbon.

“I cried happy tears. I just felt like I was home.”

Since getting back in the saddle, Kathryn has already experienced a fall and was relieved the implant held up just fine.

She says she shares her journey with her patients, hoping to inspire them.

“What I tell them is fight the good fight. If you don’t replace the joints that need it, then your other joints are going to suffer.”

Dr. Jenkins says outcomes like Kathryn’s are incredibly rewarding for him.

“My goal as a joint replacement surgeon is to enable somebody. To give them that second chance and start that next chapter in their life.”

Kathryn said she’ll never understand why some of her patients still travel to Boston when world-class orthopedic care is found right here in Southeastern New England.

“There’s the extra travel. What if there’s a problem? Here, if I call, they get me right in,” she said. “I’m very happy with the care I received at University Orthopedics and I refer most of my patients here.”

About Dr. Jenkins

Dr. Jenkins specializes in adult reconstruction of the hip and knee, with a focused interest in primary surgery including direct anterior total hip replacement, gap balanced total knee replacement, and partial knee replacement; outpatient total joint replacement without the need for an overnight hospital stay; hip and knee preservation, young adult hip and knee, hip and knee arthroscopy, hip and knee osteotomies, treatment of avascular necrosis, fracture treatment of the hip and knee, and revision hip and knee surgeries including the treatment of infected, failed, or painful joint replacements.