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Patty Palmquist – JOYNT Participant

Patty Palmquist – JOYNT Participant

JOYNT program ‘really working’ for Rockford woman needing knee replacement.

Patty Palmquist came to OrthoIllinois for help with knee pain, but through her participation in the JOYNT program, she has received much more than medical care.

Patty, 67, had struggled with knee pain for a few years. When she came to Dr. Michael Chmell in 2018, he told her she would need a total knee replacement. She had previously torn her meniscus in her right knee and has arthritis, which causes her to limp when she walks and throws off the balance in her hips.

“When I first saw her, she had severe end-stage knee arthritis,” Dr. Chmell said. “She had undergone previous surgery, as well as numerous non-operative interventions without relief of her knee pain.”

To improve her long-term success with a new knee, Patty needed to lose weight before scheduling surgery. She enrolled in the OrthoIllinois JOYNT program, which over 12 weeks incorporates nutrition education and aquatic fitness classes at the SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA and group counseling through Judson University.

“I’ll never forget they told me for every pound you lose, it removes 3 pounds of pressure off your joints,” she recalled. “When they told me about this program, I said, ‘I’m game.’”

Doing the work

Once enrolled in the JOYNT program, Patty enjoyed the warm water pool classes, which allowed her to exercise without pain. She also met and connected with other people working toward improving their health.

“It’s really been working,” she said. “I was so amazed at how friendly everyone is and how we’ve connected. That really adds to the experience and the motivation of wanting to stick with it.”

Patty works full time but makes the time to come to the Y on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before work. She was hesitant at first about the counseling portion of the program but said she came to embrace the added support and education.

“Halfway through the program, she had an ‘I see moment’ and realized how important this component was,” said Megan Salser, a registered orthopedic technologist who helped develop and who coordinates the JOYNT program. “She was a huge motivator and encouraged many of her fellow group members.”

Maintaining progress

Patty lost more than 20 pounds during the 12-week session that started in February 2019. Close to her goal of losing 30 pounds, she continues to attend the JOYNT classes. Her knee pain has improved – she’s still a candidate for surgery whenever she’s ready.

“Like anything, you want to meet your goal quickly. You get excited about progress and you want to keep going,” she said. “I highly recommend this program. I can’t say enough good about it – everyone has been wonderful and it has truly enriched my life.”

Dr. Chmell is pleased with Patty’s progress, and Megan called her a “true inspiration to others.”

“Upon completion of the program, she is now a much safer candidate for joint replacement surgery, and more significantly, her knee pain is controlled and she will be able to continue to work full time and delay her eventual knee replacement,” Dr. Chmell said.

See Patty’s story featured on WNIJ.