Rick Matokar

Double Knee Replacements Give Pizzeria Owner and Runner a Second Chance

Rich Matokar, a 70 year-old resident of Highland, Indiana, has been active all his life. Today, he considers competitive running and pizza two of his greatest passions.

Matokar has competed in a total of 14 marathons, including events in New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago. And, six days a week he runs his own Arrenello’s pizzerias in Northwest Indiana and Illinois. That’s a lot of running.

Over time, as Matokar ran and worked, he slowly developed knee pain that eventually made it impossible for him to walk or sleep without pain. In 1991, he was advised by his doctor to stop running because he would just do more damage to both knees. Matokar was devastated. But, even though he modified his activities, he did not stop running entirely.

Over the years, different doctors told him that he needed a knee replacement, but Matokar was waiting to feel confident that the most updated techniques were available to him. Then, one day in 2014, he was discussing his joint problems and possible replacement with a friend at the local gym. His friend recommended that he see Dr. Richard Berger, a Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) hip and knee specialist who is known for his innovative minimally invasive techniques and excellent patient outcomes.

Matokar went home, researched Dr. Berger and promptly made an appointment. After discussing various surgical options, Dr. Berger and Matokar decided that it would be best if he underwent a full knee replacement because of the condition of his knee.</p><p>By this time, Matokar was ready and had full faith in Dr. Berger and his staff. So, he underwent the procedure in 2014. The surgery went extremely well and his recovery and physical therapy went according to schedule. Matokar said that he “felt like the only man in the room” during his surgery and office appointments.

But, he felt a little uneven. His new knee was working great, but the other knee was “just okay.” So, during a check-up after the first knee replacement, Matokar and Dr. Berger discussed a second knee replacement. He had the surgery and this one was also a complete success.

Now, just two months after his second knee replacement, Matokar is back at work full time. With Dr. Berger’s approval, his goal is to run again when he completes physical therapy. He is grateful for a second chance to continue his active life and fully manage his business. In fact, he has been known to show his gratitude by personally delivering pizzas to Dr. Berger’s staff… an unexpected but delicious surprise.