By age 18, Annie Hendricks’ knee was operated on eight different times, and it still wasn’t getting any better.
Hendricks first injured cartilage in her knee at age 8. She then developed a staph infection, leading to seven more operations over the next 10 years to repair the damage.
“Eventually all my cartilage in a couple of spots was gone because of the other surgeries,” Hendricks said. “It was bone-on-bone.”
Hendricks wasn’t able to walk up stairs or ride a bike without pain by the time she came to see Dr. Brian Cole at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. Cole, who was recommended to Hendricks by former Denver Broncos team physician Ted Schlagel, is well-known for his research with Rush University Medical Center on cartilage transplantation. After examining Hendricks, he thought she was an excellent candidate for a donor allograft (using tissue from a cadaver) procedure on her knee.
“He really changed my life and made everything better,” Hendricks said.
About a year after the surgery, Hendricks, now 19, is able to take stairs and ride a bike without pain. She is now working toward a goal she would not have been able to achieve before coming to Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. “I am becoming a volunteer firefighter and can do every physical task I need to do for it,” she said. “There are so many things I’m doing now that I never even thought about doing before.”