Combined efforts get patient back on her feet

October 29, 2014

If the natural stress and anxiety that comes with having a baby weren’t enough, Katy Kemp soon discovered she couldn’t move her right knee, requiring the use of a walker to get around.

She was diagnosed with post-partum femoral neuropathy, a condition created by prolonged pressure on a nerve in the knee during delivery.

But the combined efforts of a physician and a physical therapist at UNT Health Science Center, which excels in such interprofessional cooperation, restored Kemp’s ability to walk and to care for her 2-year-old son and newborn daughter.

When she was first diagnosed, Kemp feared she had suffered permanent knee damage.

"It was so scary that I couldn’t use my knee to do simple tasks such as walk up a step," Kemp said.

Then she went to Kendi Hensel, DO, PhD, who assured Kemp the damage wasn’t permanent and began treatments to relieve the condition.

"The first priority was getting Katy’s pelvis more symmetrical," said Dr. Hensel, Associate Professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine at UNTHSC. "Due to her position while giving birth and the large size of her baby, she had significant asymmetry in the bones of her pelvis, which impacted all the other structures, including muscles and nerves.

"Improving the position and condition of the nerves and other structures was the beginning of helping them to heal."   

Kemp also received physical therapy from Marie Woerner, PT, DPT, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy.

"I was told that time was of the essence as muscles atrophy quickly," Kemp said. "So I went to osteopathic manipulative treatment and physical therapy weekly and sometimes twice a week."

Dr. Woerner used the dry-needling technique to help stimulate the nerves and improve muscle response as well as therapeutic exercises to improve muscle strength, balance and muscle response.

After three months, Katy still faces some physical therapy but has come a long way.

"I am able to walk and care for my two children because these doctors took the time to listen," she said. "Their swift and thorough treatments allowed for me to recover in record time, even climbing stairs within 12 weeks of delivery."

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