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Finding life without pain

Orthopedic surgery at Gritman gives Moscow woman hope

Visit our orthopedic care page to learn more about how we can help you get back to living a more pain-free life.

Heather Maib has barely known life without pain.

For more than three decades the mother of two young children has lived with chronic pain and an often hidden disability that dates back to her childhood when she dislocated her left knee for the first of many times.

I am able to do things that just weren’t possible even before I fell – it has made my quality of life so much better. I would definitely recommend Dr. Hazelwood and Gritman.
– Heather Maib
When she slipped and fell in early 2019 and once again dislocated her knee, she turned to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kyle Hazelwood, Gritman Medical Center’s orthopedic surgery program and Gritman’s Therapy Solutions.

They have given her hope that it is possible to live pain-free.

It has been a long journey – and it is not over yet – but after two recent surgeries and months of physical therapy, Heather says her knee is improving every day and she’s building stamina and mobility.

“I didn’t realize prior to me getting hurt how much less active I have become in the last few years. I didn’t realize how much other parts of my body were being affected by the fact that I just couldn’t move my legs as well,” Heather said. “I feel like I am getting stronger every week.”

Heather traces her knee troubles back to elementary school. She was just 9 years old when she first dislocated the joint. By the time she was 15, that number topped two dozen and she had already had multiple surgeries to try to correct the issue.

The dislocations stopped, but the pain never abated.

“Slowly my leg got worse and worse, and I just didn’t realize it,” Heather said. “It is just something that has always been part of my life.”

Heather tolerated the pain for years, but in January of 2019, she once again dislocated the joint.

While she had no experience with Dr. Hazelwood, she had heard he was a “rockstar” and she knew she would be in good hands.

Dr. Hazelwood ultimately performed a pair of surgeries to help repair her knee. The last, a ligament reconstruction, took place in December at Gritman.

“Dr. Hazelwood and his team really provided a great level of care,” Heather said. “I felt like I was listened to, which is really important to me because I have been dealing with this for a long time, so I know what it is like to feel dismissed by a surgeon. I did not feel that at all with Dr. Hazelwood.”

Hydroworx therapy pool orthopedic surgeryHydroWorx therapy pools are used by premier athletic programs and health care facilities around the world, including the Seattle Seahawks, University of Idaho, United States Navy Seals and the Nike Oregon project.

Heather worked with physical therapists like Mark Heinlein (include photo and caption) at Therapy Solutions to gain strength before her operations and to rehabilitate afterward. Patients at Therapy Solutions have access to a team of highly-skilled physical and occupational therapists with decades of experience and knowledge and to first-class facilities and equipment, like Gritman’s dedicated inpatient therapy gym and the HydroWorx therapy pool featuring an underwater treadmill and resistance jets.

Physical therapy mark heinleinMark Heinlein is one of our highly-skilled and experienced physical therapists at Therapy Solutions who specialize in orthopedics.

“Mark was awesome. He recognized I was a pretty motivated patient so he would introduce me to things that were just challenging enough. He would push me just slightly outside my comfort zone, but in a really safe and productive way,” Heather said. “He took the time to explain the mechanics of what was going on in my leg, and I really appreciated that.”

While she is not completely recovered, the difference is obvious. She is experiencing less pain not only in her knee but also in other areas of her body like her hips and back. And she’s become more mobile and comfortable using her knee.

“I am able to do things that just weren’t possible even before I fell – it has made my quality of life so much better,” Heather said. “I would definitely recommend Dr. Hazelwood and Gritman.”