Kim Yeakel, pictured left, with a friend trekking the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas, elevation 10,500 feet.
Kim Yeakel knew her treatment plan with Dr. Brian Gruber was working when 18 months after becoming a patient of his, she traveled to Nepal to do a five-day trek through the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas. Upon completing the 55-plus mile journey, her knee pain was minimal and she’d been able to avoid taking any pain medication throughout the trip.
Fast forward several months earlier when Kim was limping and in daily pain from her bad knee. Kim’s knee problems started when she tore her ACL in a skiing accident when she was 14-years-old. At the time, she did not see an orthopedic doctor and the knee was not repaired.
By the time Kim was in her 20s she had developed chronic knee osteoarthritis. “I was told not to run and that a total knee replacement surgery was in my future,” said Kim. “Not very comforting advice.”
Kim is originally from Emmaus, Pennsylvania and has lived in Arizona for ten years. She works as a pediatric critical care nurse practitioner and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in liberal studies/global studies at Southern Methodist University.
In addition to her busy professional life, Kim is an avid international traveler – she may be the only person you know who actually likes airports! Once she packed up her bike in Dallas and flew to Australia with some friends to complete a 1,000-mile bike ride from Melbourne to Sydney, learning to ride on the opposite side of the road and playing with baby kangaroos and koalas along the way.
Kim’s love of travel began when she was very young. She enjoys seeing how other cultures live and go about their daily lives. Kim combines her professional skills, global studies and love of travel through international humanitarian efforts, including clinic work in Honduras and international volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity.
Kim’s goal for living with and managing chronic knee pain is to avoid knee replacement surgery, forever, if possible. Four years ago, when her knee pain really flared-up and began troubling her, she found Dr. Gruber through an online search. Initially, she was treated for a tibia stress fracture and then began to explore options with Dr. Gruber for her knee pain. They did steroid and hyaluronic injections coupled with physical therapy and a knee brace. This protocol worked well and enabled Kim to complete her 55-mile Nepal trek successfully.
“Dr. Gruber was the first doctor to offer this type of treatment plan to me,” said Kim. “While the injection therapy did offer relief, I knew from my own research and from what Dr. Gruber told me that is was not sustainable long-term.
Seeking even greater relief and a more sustainable approach to maintain her active lifestyle and manage her knee pain, Dr. Gruber recommended Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) to Kim. The results have been better than she could have imagined.
“My knee is in better shape and I am thrilled with the results,” said Kim. “There is no pain and is greater knee flexibility. I’ve actually experienced several months of a completely pain-free, almost normal feeling knee following the PRP injections.”
Kim describes the team at Integrated Orthopedics as a “cohesive group,” noting that everyone is efficient, friendly and competent. She always appreciates that Dr. Gruber is patient, kind and spends the time needed with her to discuss treatment options, goals and progress. Kim added that Susan Stewart, medical assistant, is amazing and has also been a big part of her care and great results.
“Dr. Gruber and the team at Integrated Orthopedics care about their patients,” said Kim. “I am thrilled with the results I’ve had with PRP and am so grateful that my relationship with Dr. Gruber has given me access to the best options for managing my bad knee.”
Kim added that as a patient of Dr. Gruber’s for four years, she always knows he will provide her with the most advanced and up-to-date options for her care. “I feel certain that had I not found Dr. Gruber, I would have had knee replacement surgery sooner than I really needed it,” said Kim.
About Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), also called cell therapy, PRP merges the body’s natural ability to heal itself with the most innovative technology. The body’s platelets, when activated, release healing proteins called “growth factors” that stimulate repair. PRP uses the body’s own platelets to create a healing reaction.