by Kate Vander Wiede

In December 2017, when Bob Scarry came to Performance’s Smithfield clinic, he’d been through a tough few weeks. After getting knee replacement surgery, he had ended up with a blood clot. Soon after recovering from that, he started physical therapy with his surgeon’s office, where a painful experience ended with his knee swelling up to twice the normal size and him going to the emergency room, where he got admitted and spent the night.

After that, Bob decided to switch physical therapy practices. Having friendships with a few physical therapists at Performance, he booked an appointment at the Smithfield clinic hoping that someone at Performance could help him reach his goals. Recovering from the swelling and the knee replacement, Bob was using a walker to get around, and his goal was to be able to ditch the walker and, even more, be able to be more active.

“I used to referee basketball,” Bob said in a recent interview, “and my real goal is to be able to run enough to go back and referee again.” The manager of a hardware store, Bob also wanted to be able to complete work tasks without pain and run for exercise.

At his first visit with Dr. Lauren Riccardi, DPT, they planned the course of his treatment, aiming to address his range of motion, his ability to walk without a walker, and his lower body strength.

Twice a week, Bob had physical therapy appointments. First, Dr. Riccardi worked with Bob on restoring the range of motion in his knee, using active release massage techniques in his upper legs to address the stiffness caused by his knee’s swelling. After using a manipulation to help improve his knee mobility, Dr. Riccardi had Bob start doing range of motion stretches on his own. As Bob gained mobility and range, the two turned their attention to balance and gait retraining to get Bob feeling steady on his knee and ready to move without a walker, and soon enough he was able to move around without depending on it. As he walked with more confidence, Dr. Riccardi worked with Bob on standing balances and strengthening activities, including body weight exercises like squats and lower body exercises and Theraband exercises to strengthen his hips.

Dr. Riccardi said that Bob always did his home exercises and came to physical therapy appointments motivated and ready to go. “Total knee replacements are hard work,” she said. “Bob was an absolute pleasure to work with. He was willing to put in the effort to make him a success. He approached his entire recovery with a positive attitude, diligence, and patience.”

These days, Bob now comes in once every two weeks to check in with Dr. Riccardi, make adjustments to his exercise program, and continue measuring his progression. He can so all his work-related activities without an issue and he’s starting to be able to run again for the first time in about two years. He’s not yet where he wants to be physically, he said, but Dr. Riccardi has pushed him to recognize the huge strides he’s made so far, even if there is father to go.

Bob said Dr. Riccardi was always positive and always motivating like this. He recalled the early days of his treatment, when he wasn’t progressing quickly, when his pain was constant, and when he felt discouraged. “When we had those bad things going on early on,” he said, choking up “when things weren’t going well, Lauren would keep me up, she would keep it positive.”

Bob said that he knew that his goals were different from “the average 62-year-old man” in that it was important for him to stay really active for a long time. It would have been easy, he said, for Dr. Riccardi to say that he should lower his expectations, but she didn’t. Instead she helped him try to reach them. “Lauren is phenomenal,” he said. “It was really nice that she honored those goals.”

At Performance, with Dr. Riccardi and all the other staff, Bob said he always felt surrounded by positivity and attention. “I always felt taken care of, that my time was valuable,” he said. “I couldn’t be more happy with the care that I got.”