Tennis After Knee Replacement

Joe Purdue

Nationally­ Ranked Masters Tennis Player Joe Perdue Proves It Can Be Done

Elite tennis players dread the day the doctor says, “It’s time for hip or knee replacement,” fearing they must give up their “love” after decades of fiery court competitions.

But as techniques and technologies improve and the number of complications decline, players are discovering that new joints can signal a new beginning to their tennis career.

Such is the case for Master’s Doubles Tennis Champion Joe Perdue of Peachtree, GA., a four-time gold ball winner. After knee pain started to affect his performance, Perdue tried cortisone, stem cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to prolong the life of the knee. But after years of failed treatments, Perdue’s local orthopedic doctor advised him to get knee replacement from Richard Berger, M.D., Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, who is world-renowned for his minimally invasive procedures that get elite athletes back in the game.

Dr. Berger practices at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and has performed more than 25,000 surgeries and more outpatient joint replacements than any other U.S. orthopedic surgeon. Equipped with a mechanical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Berger has designed a unique technique that eliminates the need to cut muscle, tendons, or ligaments—meaning less pain and a speedier recovery.

When Joe first met with Dr. Berger, he had a long list of questions and the most important one had to do with recovery.

“I didn’t just want to return to daily living activities,” admits Joe. “I wanted to jump higher and run faster for many years to come. Dr. Berger told me that I’d be back on the court in three and a half weeks. And he was right.”

“I never restrict my patients from doing what they love after knee or hip replacement,” says Dr. Berger, who has performed surgery on a litany of professional athletes. “Whether playing competitive tennis, running a marathon, or skydiving, the minimal tissue-cutting procedure I invented gets them back to their sport quickly, and most of the time, they perform better and compete stronger than before surgery.”

“I followed the direction of Dr. Berger’s staff and the advice of my physical therapist. I also worked closely with a personal trainer and watched my diet and took nutritional supplements,” Perdue says.

“His recovery was unbelievable,” says Perdue’s double partner Oren Motevassel. “When Dr. Berger told him he’d be back playing tournaments in just two months, I said, ‘impossible,’ but he was right. Now he’s jumping at the net like a gazelle.”

Perdue’s only regret is that he didn’t do knee replacement sooner. “If I knew I would have recovered this quickly and my game would improve this much, I would have done it years ago without the continual pain and aggravation of trying other options that didn’t work. Dr. Berger and his staff made the whole process so enjoyable.”

Six weeks after knee replacement surgery, Perdue and Motevassel won a national tournament.  Six months post-surgery, they secured the gold at the USTA Nationals Grass Court Rumford, RI.  With four gold balls (for national championships) under their belts, they have set their sights on a 2025 Grand Slam, winning four national tournaments in a calendar year.

“I’m playing better now than I did four years ago, he admits. “I’m optimistic about our chances in the future. And I sure would love having four more gold balls.  Then it will be time for a new shelf.”

Original Article