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Sheriff’s Lieutenant Is Back on the Beat After Knee Replacement

Patient Paul Lambert with Dr. Alan Heincker in a clinic
After trying knee injections to relieve pain, Paul Lambert decided to have a total knee replacement at Phelps Health. Following a successful recovery, Paul says he is not limited by his knee anymore.

Published on July 17, 2023

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Three Things to Know

  • Paul Lambert lived with knee pain for around 15 years, hindering his mobility and forcing him to quit certain activities.
  • After first trying knee injections, Paul opted for knee surgery performed by Phelps Health Orthopedic Surgeon Alan Heincker, DO.
  • Paul underwent physical therapy and received home health care, which greatly contributed to his recovery and improved his quality of life.

For the better part of 15 years, Rolla resident Paul Lambert lived with pain in his right knee.

The cartilage in his knee joint, which acts as a cushion between his leg bones, had worn away.

“I used to play sports, but with the pain in my knee, the bone on bone, I had to quit walking long distances,” said Paul, a 58-year-old lieutenant with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department.

Dr. Alan Heincker, Phelps Health Orthopedic Surgeon
Alan Heincker, DO

Tired of his knee hurting, he made an appointment with Phelps Health Orthopedic Surgeon Alan Heincker, DO, and tried knee injections first.

While the shots helped temporarily, after several visits to the Orthopedics Clinic, Paul and his doctor discussed knee surgery
as an option to relieve the pain.

“I'd heard from several people before I had my surgery with
Dr. Heincker that they'd had him for a knee replacement.
One person I knew had a double knee replacement, and he said he was doing well,” Paul recalled.

After hearing nothing but praise for Dr. Heincker, Paul decided to have the procedure.

To prepare for his knee replacement, Paul and his wife, Tania, attended the Orthopedics Joint Camp, where he learned what to expect each step of the way for his surgery, recovery and rehabilitation.

In December 2022, Dr. Heincker performed a total knee replacement on Paul’s right knee.

“The surgery went great, and Dr. Heincker explained things to me in a way I could understand,” he said. “It was a good experience.”

Following the operation, Paul stayed overnight at Phelps Health Hospital. He was discharged the next day and began his road to recovery.

He vividly remembers the pain the first week following his surgery and questioned how he was supposed to do physical therapy when he could barely move his leg.

“The second week was better than the first, and after that, there wasn’t really much pain, but there was some stiffness,” he said.

Paul completed physical therapy sessions at Phelps Health over the next 4 to 5 weeks, in addition to doing exercises at home. He used the Phelps Health Patient Transport Service to get him to and from his appointments.

“You hear people talk about physical therapy and that physical therapists push you when you’re in so much pain, but they’re really not like that,” he said. “They work with you and get you doing exercises that you need to get your full range of motion back.”

Some of the exercises Paul performed in physical therapy included squats, leg extensions and leg curls. He also practiced stretching, straightening his leg, climbing stairs and pedaling with a recumbent bike.

Bart Nelson, a physical therapy assistant with Phelps Health Outpatient Therapy Services, helped Paul throughout rehab.

“Bart would push you, but he'd tell you, ‘If anything hurts or if you have pain, then just let me know and we'll stop that,’” Paul said.

In addition, Paul received home health care from Phelps Health. “They would come out a couple of times and check on different things. They’d make sure I could do certain activities and that I was safe,” he said.

Paul credits Tania and daughter, Hope, for assisting him after his surgery. “They were instrumental in my recovery and really helped me,” he said.

Since his knee replacement, Paul said his quality of life has drastically changed for the better.

“I’m not limited by my right knee anymore,” he said.

He returned to work 6 weeks following his surgery, performing light duties. Then, in mid-March, Dr. Heincker gave Paul clearance to return to his normal tasks at his jobs.

From surgery to physical therapy, Paul’s experience at Phelps Health was outstanding. He encourages others living with joint pain to see a provider at the Phelps Health Orthopedic Clinic.

“I would definitely recommend Phelps Health for any orthopedic needs that you have,” he said.

Don’t Suffer From Joint Pain

Is knee pain keeping you from doing the activities you love? Let our caring and experienced Phelps Health Orthopedics team find a treatment option that’s right for you. Call (573) 364-5633.

Found in: Care Health Joint Knee Orthopedics Patients Rehab Replacement Surgery