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Avera Medical Minute: The fast track to feeling better

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:22 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ryen Hawkey is a true team player.

“I was playing in a volleyball tournament down in Sioux City and I just kind of fell and it felt like I had kind of popped my knee out of its socket,” Hawkey said. “I tried to get up and I couldn’t walk and I realized ‘oh, I did something to my knee.’”

Even though she got hurt, she stayed in Sioux City to watch her team play in the tournament. When she got back home, she went to Avera’s Orthopedic Urgent Care in Sioux Falls to get her right knee checked out.

Things moved pretty quickly from there.

“They said I have to go in for an MRI, and he said that he thinks right away that it’s an ACL tear because it was non-contact,” Hawkey said. “So we just kind of knew that it might be an ACL tear or something of that sort. But, we had no idea for sure, so we went in for an MRI later that day.”

“She plays a lot of volleyball, and so we wanted her to be taken care of the best that we could and if it were something that was serious, like it was, we wanted to get it taken care of right away so she could get to recovery,” Hawkey’s dad, Shad, said.

“We went in for an MRI I believe Monday, then Tuesday we met with Dr. O’Brien, and the next day, like Wednesday, I had surgery,” Hawkey said.

Avera orthopedic surgeon Dr. Patrick O’Brien says it’s a good thing the surgery happened when it did back in February.

“She had a very specific kind of meniscus tear, what we call a ‘bucket handle’ tear of the meniscus,” Dr. O’Brien said. “So, it had actually torn and had like flipped into the front part of the knee, and was like blocking movement, and just was in a position it wasn’t meant to be in. And those are things we want to try to address more quickly, so that we can try to repair that tissue, salvage it. The longer it goes on the more difficult it can become to be able to do that.”

Avera Orthopedic Urgent Care aims to get people the right help, right away.

“Injuries happen, and they can happen just walking off a curb rolling your ankle,” Physician Assistant Ryan Slaba said. “It’s a clinic where you can come in without an appointment and get in, get an X-ray if it’s needed, get an MRI set up, get a cast a splint, an injection. It’s a nice entry point.”

Slaba said Hawkey got answers and was able to get into recovery faster than someone who would have waited a week or two to see a doctor. Her surgery went well, and the recovery process began.

“I started going to physical therapy twice a week, and that’s really helped, and I really feel like I’ve recovered pretty well,” Hawkey said.

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