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Knee replacements keep Wisconsin Rapids man on the go

​​​​​​At age 70, Dave Kersten stays on the move. But it wouldn't have been possible without two knee replacement procedures at Marshfield Clinic.

Dave Kersten, Wisconsin Rapids Dave Kersten, Wisconsin Rapids

Kersten works as a real estate agent, operates the four-vehicle Kersten Funeral Coach Service with his wife and referees about 40 high school basketball and football games a year.

Kersten's increasing difficulty in pursuing his longtime passion for officiating – a total of 46 years calling basketball, football and softball games at the college and high school level – led to his undergoing knee replacement procedures in 2009 and 2010.

"What led to the surgeries was pain – I just wasn't functioning at the level I wanted," Kersten recalled. "I'd try to block out the pain, but eventually I couldn't do it."

Therapists at Marshfield Clinic Wisconsin Rapids Orthopedics Center recommended that Kersten visit Robert Leggon, M.D.​​, an orthopedic surgeon whose Marshfield Clinic practice includes joint replacement, orthopedic oncology and orthopedic traumatology. Dr. Leggon determined that replacements for both knees were Kersten's best hope for regaining pain-free mobility.

Knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, consists of replacing diseased or damaged weight-bearing joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components that are molded to enable a more fluid motion. Nerve blocks are designed to take away the pain. The operation generally involves substantial vigorous postoperative physical rehabilitation, with a recovery period of six weeks or longer.

"As with all surgeries, there are risks, but our patients report an extremely high satisfaction rate, with decreased pain, better walking ability and greater range of motion after the procedure," Dr. Leggon said.

Dave Kersten

After a postoperative three-day hospital stay to ensure flexibility and stability of the knee, Kersten took on a rehabilitation regimen of three sessions a week for one month, then twice a week for another month. Staples were removed about three weeks after each surgery. As is customary, Dr. Leggon examined Kersten seven weeks after surgery and provided periodic follow-up.

Two years after the second knee replacement, Kersten couldn't be more pleased by the results. "I had stopped golfing, but can now walk the course," he said. "And, of course, even though I'm supposed to be 'retired,' I'm still officiating games."

The knee replacements also allow Kersten to keep up with his young and lively grandchildren, the children of his two daughters.

As a man for whom being active is life itself, knee replacement surgery has helped Kersten to keep pace with the activities he loves most. "Dr. Leggon and my rehabilitation therapist at Wisconsin Rapids Orthopedics, Dan Janik, have fixed me up well enough to lead a more normal lifestyle," he said. "I can't imagine a better team anywhere than at Marshfield Clinic."