Letia Payne is a Boston-based athlete who was a gymnast long before she began competing in triathlons. Since then, Letia has shifted her focus to strength training. Her no-nonsense regimen has kept her both fit and sane during Massachusetts’ months-long safer-at-home ordinance. You may remember her testimonial from 2014, wherein she describes her experience receiving the Arthrosurface PF Wave® (patellofemoral) knee implant. It has been over five years since her surgery, and we thought it would be a great time to get an update on how she’s doing.
Q1: Massachusetts has strict guidelines in place to curb COVID-19 infections. How has your training routine changed now that your gym time is limited?
I’ve really gotten into strength training, and I work avidly with my trainer Kyle Lopes. When the shutdown happened, I was happy that the small gym in my apartment complex stayed open. I was by no means going to let COVID-19 stop me from achieving my goals. It was an obstacle and I needed to work through it, just like my knee pain. In fact, I’m probably in better shape than ever! My knee feels great. I feel super strong and have no complaints.
Q2: You received the PF Wave® knee implant in 2014 and we can tell you’re happy with the results. What can you tell us and others about your journey?
I was a gymnast for several years when I was younger and never had any issues. But after college, when I started to get into triathlons, that all changed. The pain began in 2010, and I underwent multiple repeated surgeries – nine to be exact. I had an ACI surgery, which failed miserably. Over a four year time span, I endured multiple surgeries with one surgeon which also led to serious infections.
Dr. Brian McKeon stepped in and saved my life! He knew right away that the Arthrosurface PF Wave® implant would be a good fit for me. At the time, I was only 34 years old and he was clear I’d be one of the youngest patients in the world to get the procedure. I received the implant in 2014, and it was the best decision I ever made. If it wasn’t for Arthrosurface and Dr. McKeon, I don’t know where I’d be.
Before getting the PF Wave® implant, I could barely go down the stairs. Daily activities like getting in and out of the shower were extremely hard to do. I couldn’t even sit in the car very long without feeling pain in my knee. And as a young professional, the constant pain had a tremendous impact on my job and relationships. Although I had a great support system of family, friends, my medical team, and the gym, I still had a difficult time. When I was going through all those repeat surgeries, I couldn’t drive because my left knee was in a brace. My mom dropped me off at the gym with my crutches. I was determined to not let go of my fitness.
After receiving the knee implant from Arthrosurface, I decided to forego my triathlon training and competing to really focus on the strength training aspect of it, and I’ve stuck with that. I realize now that I don’t have to compete in an Ironman to be in good shape. Today I’m 100% recovered, active and happy.
Q3: It’s great to hear about the balance you’ve found over the last several years. For others considering this surgery, can you tell us a little bit about the recovery process?
I did some research prior to surgery, but really put my trust in Dr. McKeon and his faith in Arthrosurface. Post-surgery, it took me one year until I started to run again. I remember vividly that I was home visiting my parents in Connecticut. I want to go run and my mom told me to be careful. I was worried but it felt great, and I had tears running down my face. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m back!”
The most difficult part of the first month of recovery was wanting to get up and go, and start chipping away at the rehab and recovery plan. But I was forced to pull back and listen to my body. I finally relaxed and let go of the anxiety of it not working, because it was working. Recovery was very smooth with no bumps.
Within a year or two, I was on my bike again and strength training. I was back to the gym and hitting the elliptical and other machines hard again.
Q4: How has your life changed since receiving the PF Wave® implant?
I’m in the best shape of my life and really happy. Working with my trainer is so fun and even better than training for a triathlon. I’ve been pushing my body and mind to a whole different level. I am able to do rigorous sports training and strength conditioning, pain free and without limitations. It doesn’t hurt at all and I don’t have to wear a brace. I feel super strong. Due to COVID-19, I can’t do fitness competitions, so my focus has changed a bit, but getting stronger is still my goal.
If it wasn’t for Arthrosurface and Dr. McKeon, I don’t know where I would be right now. I owe it to them. I believe in giving back and sharing my story with others.
Q5: You’re an inspiration and we are so impressed with how far you’ve come. What is your advice to others dealing with knee pain and considering this surgery?
Do your own research and you’ll come across many success stories. I highly recommend it and I’ve never looked back. It’s given me a whole new, better life and allowed me to stay active. I truly believe that you can’t let yourself go and staying in shape is the key to staying strong – physically and mentally.
For more information on the PF Wave® implant and PF Wave Arthroplasty System please visit https://www.arthrosurface.com/products/knee/patello-femoral-implants/