“You want to keep moving, we’ll keep you moving.”
“It is very disheartening. You’ve retired from teaching, you can’t wait to have those free mornings and go do whatever you want with your friends—and then to not even feel like getting up and walking some mornings is pretty tough to take.”
Not every sports injury is dramatic. Sometimes it’s more subtle–a long, slow wear-and-tear that happens over decades. But if you’re an active person, it can be just as devastating, requiring just as much expertise to help you keep living the life you love. That’s what happened to Donna Martin.
Donna is someone who needs to stay active. She’s spent her entire life cheering, playing basketball, playing tennis, coaching, walking, and now playing pickleball—a paddle-ball sport that combines tennis, badminton and table tennis. She started playing after she retired from her job as a high school teacher.
“I play four or five days a week, and even more in the summer. It’s one of the most addicting things I’ve ever done. It is so addicting and people that get into it stay into it. And they’re there almost every day.”
Aside from being a pickleball player, Donna is a cheerleading coach at Dunbar High School. When Donna began to experience severe swelling in her knees, Cody Begley—a University of Kentucky athletic trainer and Dunbar High School’s trainer—noticed Donna’s discomfort during practices and encouraged her to seek help at UK HealthCare’s Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
Dr. Kyle Smoot and Dr. Stephen Duncan helped Donna pinpoint the source of her pain: arthritis. Dr. Duncan recommended corticosteroid injections in her knees so that Donna could continue being active without needing to proceed directly into a more drastic intervention like surgery. It was important to Donna that she be able to stay active as long as possible—a habit she’s kept up her whole life.
“I can’t imagine a week without going to some type of athletic activity, either doing something myself or attending one. There’s probably never been a week in my life that I haven’t been on a bleacher somewhere or doing something myself.”
The treatment plan that Donna and Dr. Duncan developed has allowed Donna to continue the life that she loves. “He doesn’t try to hold me back,” Donna said. “He tells me to keep moving and that’s what I want to be able to do.” By wearing knee braces and continuing regular injections, Donna can continue to play pickleball on a daily basis—staying active, healthy and social.
“If I hadn’t found a way to keep inflammation down, and hope that I can always stay active, I think I would have been bored out of my mind. I can’t imagine not getting up and having an agenda for every day. I’m just never going to be that person.”