“Before my knee replacement, I would have to plan out and size up every place I would go…. Now, I can just go where I want.” – Karol Coley

With the cartilage in her left knee worn down to almost bone on bone, Boone, North Carolina, resident Karol Coley knew it was time to have a total knee replacement.


To recover from the surgery, Coley chose to come to Life Care Center of Banner Elk, North Carolina, for physical and occupational therapies. When she arrived on April 14, she was in post-surgical pain and needed some assistance with daily activities like walking, getting in and out of bed and bathing.


“I couldn’t lift my leg on and off the bed,” Coley remembered. “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t carry or lift anything. I had to learn to sit and stand and sleep differently.”


Physical therapists worked with Coley seven days a week to help her recover quickly. They focused on helping her rebuild strength and range of motion, using seated exercise machines such as the NuStep® and Omnicycle as well as ankle weights and standing exercises.


Five days a week, Coley took part in occupational therapy, which helped her work on tasks such as laundry and showering. Therapists used electrical stimulation to help with pain management.


All these interventions helped Coley regain her full independence. In fact, she took part in the Ready… Set… Go! return-to-home program, specifically designed to help patients get home quickly and safely.


“Before my knee replacement, I would have to plan out and size up every place I would go, how to park, how many stairs, if there was an elevator, if I could make it to the front door, where to sit,” said Coley. “Now, I can just go where I want.”


As far as her knee goes, she added, “I can bend my knee 95 degrees. It has full extension, and I’m walking with a cane. I couldn’t get shoes on or off at first, and now I can get my compression socks and shoes on and off.”


Coley successfully returned home on April 25 with plans of driving, shopping and spending time with her grandchildren – just like she used to.