Taking the Next Step

East Tennessee Woman Finds Healing After Joint Replacement Surgery at Covenant Therapy Centers – Harriman

Susan LaRue, 57 of Deer Lodge, lives on her family farm and enjoys spending time outside. After struggling with ankle pain for years, she underwent a total ankle replacement surgery and then rehabilitated with the help of Covenant Therapy Centers – Harriman.

Susan LaRue, Covenant Health Therapy Center patient.

No More Pain

After completing three months of physical therapy after surgery, LaRue can enjoy shopping, taking her grandchildren to fish in their pond or going on treasure hunts through the trails. She and her dog, Bandit, can now walk for up to two miles per day without any pain.

“I’ve had pain for about 10 years,” she said. “I put off having surgery because I could still walk, but my children told me I was hobbling. By the time I had surgery, I was in pain all the time.”

She says yardwork and being outside has already been much easier. “I had surgery in November and started physical therapy with Tim in December,” she says. “After surgery, I had some soreness, but my pain level has gone to zero. I think I’ve done so well!”

Covenant Health Therapy Services

Tim Smith, PT, is the physical therapist who treated LaRue when she came to the Therapy Center about two weeks after her surgery. Smith says he enjoys helping people improve and get back to doing their favorite activities.

Smith confirms, “Prior to her surgery, she had developed severe arthritis in her ankle and had been using a walking boot and a cane for the last 11 years. After her surgery when I first saw her, she was not yet bearing weight on her leg, and she was using a knee scooter. During the months of therapy, she graduated to a walker and then a cane. Finally getting out of the walking boot was a big milestone.”

Before graduating from therapy, LaRue completed two sessions per week for three months, finishing in April 2023. During that time, she grew incredibly fond of her therapy team and gives them credit for helping her make such great strides toward healing.

Compassionate Care

“He was wonderful,” LaRue shares about Smith. “Everything he did was amazing. I thought he’d make me do things I wouldn’t be able to do, but in reality, my ankle was fixed and I just needed to heal and relearn how to use it.”

Physical Therapist Tim Smith helped Susan LaRue recover.

“Ms. Susan had dealt with pain for a long time. We worked on range of motion and gradually having her stand on the foot and bear weight. She had a positive attitude the entire time,” Smith says.

He adds, “We eventually got her doing standing balancing exercises and strengthening exercises. We put her on a walking program to increase distances. She started with short distances around the house, then gong to the mailbox, and now she is up to two miles walking the dog around her farm.”

Finding Success in Healing

Smith says, “Success for us is when a patient is able to get back to doing their activities of daily living, and they can do chores and hobbies without pain. I’m so glad she had a successful outcome.”

He adds, “At the Therapy Centers, we also give people the tools to be successful after therapy, providing a home exercise program to help them know what to expect next. Her positive attitude and compliance from the beginning helped her progress.”

“I could tell there was camaraderie with the other therapists, and I enjoyed seeing their connection with each other,” LaRue says. “I could tell they got along with each other and wanted to be there.”

She adds, “Everyone was phenomenal. Even the gal who set my appointment when I called, she was so uplifting an energetic. I have nothing but good things to say and I couldn’t ask for better care.”

Smith says, “We are here to educate our patients and walk them through the rehabilitation process. We help them progress from beginning to end, and tailor a rehab program to their specific needs. It’s also nice to let them know they don’t have to drive an hour into Knoxville- we’re nearby.”

“I’ve already told many people about Tim and the group down there. If anyone is looking for a good therapy group – I highly recommend Roane Medical Center and Harriman Therapy.”

For more information on physical therapy services, please visit CovenantHealth.com/Therapy-Centers.

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