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New knees release St. Elmo man from excruciating pain

July 1, 2024 9:04 a.m.

  • David Koontz, Dr. Omiyi

After years of working on his feet, David Koontz was nearly crippled by joint pain. Yet, necessity and a strong work ethic kept him moving.

As David neared retirement, work and other everyday activities became very difficult, as both of his knees were in staggering amounts of pain. “For the last two years I worked, my knees were killing me,” he explained. “I’d work 11 hours, and when I got home, even walking into my house was difficult.”

In addition to having a full-time job, the 67-year-old St. Elmo resident also farmed corn and soybeans. Once his knees started hurting, his farming responsibilities were also more difficult to complete. “I couldn’t carry bags of seeds or do any of the other main tasks that were needed,” he said. “In general, I couldn’t walk more than a quarter of a mile because of the pain.”

Once he retired, David decided to visit his primary care provider, John Opilka, DO, at the SBL Altamont Medical Center. Dr. Opilka ordered X-rays for David’s knees and referred him to Jennifer Hess, APRN, at the SBL Bonutti Clinic. Hess saw immediately the cause of David’s pain. “She told me that my knees were shot and that I needed to get surgery as soon as possible,” David explained. “In fact, she preferred that I get them replaced that same day!”

It was August though, and David needed to tend to his farm. He pushed through the pain to finish harvest, and then he began meeting with Orthopedic Surgeon Didi Omiyi, MD, at the SBL Bonutti Clinic. David appreciated that Dr. Omiyi was straightforward with the treatment plan.

David had his first knee replacement surgery in December of 2022 and the second two months later. Following the procedures, David completed physical therapy at SBL Altamont Physical Therapy. He said that the staff was very helpful and that they helped him recover quickly. “They answered all of my questions and took great care of me,” he explained.

Following the knee replacements, David didn’t feel the much-anticipated pain. In fact, after only a few days, he stopped taking the pain medication. “Both knee surgeries went well,” he said. “I’m very pleased with how Dr. Omiyi approached everything and how it all went.”

David is grateful to Dr. Omiyi for providing excellent overall care, and for performing the procedures so well that he recovered rapidly. He is also thankful for Hess for her guidance and care before the procedures, and for Dr. Opilka for ordering the initial X-rays.

A year after the second knee replacement, life on the farm is much easier for David.

Those 50-pound bags of seed corn are no longer impossible to carry, and walking a quarter of a mile is a comfortable stroll. David’s healthy knees mean he is also able to enjoy special moments with his family, including hunting with his grandson. “I’m as happy as can be,” he said. “I recommend SBL’s services to anyone. I’m going to go to SBL forever for any medical help that I need.”



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