Platform tennis player back on the court after successful revision knee ligament procedure

“You shouldn’t play platform tennis anymore.”

These were the words that Molly Bradley heard. It began with the unmistakable and scary sound of a ‘pop’ in her knee while on the court. She knew others who had sustained the same injury and feared - like them - she may never play again.

“I was devastated because I had undergone surgery on that knee years before, but determined to seek another opinion,” Bradley, 49, explains. “I wasn’t ready to stop playing, especially at my age.”

Bradley, mom to three active boys ages 16, 15 and 12, enjoys many sports, including skiing and pickleball, but she loves platform tennis, especially in the winter months. “It’s therapy for me,” she says. “It’s social, competitive, and a great way to have fun outside in the cold weather.” Bradley enjoys practicing, playing pick-up games, and traveling matches with her friends and teammates at Butterfield County Club.

Finding the right treatment

Committed to finding another solution, Bradley took the advice of a friend, a physical therapist, who recommended that she consult with Adam Yanke, MD, PhD, Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, who is a nationally recognized specialist in complex knee injuries. She researched Dr. Yanke online, liked what she read, and was hopeful he would provide her with better news. She made an appointment right away.

“My conversation with Molly was focused on the fact that chronologic age does not correlate with physiologic age,” Dr. Yanke explains. “In her case, surgery would serve two functions: help Molly get back to the things she loves and also protect her knee from long-term damage.”

LET procedure

After speaking with Bradley, performing a physical examination of her knee, and reviewing her imaging, Dr. Yanke carefully explained his recommended course of action: a revision ACL and meniscal root repair surgery plus the utilization of a lateral extra-articular tenodesis (LET) procedure to firmly stabilize the joint. He explained that research showed that this combination has proven to reduce re-injury of the ACL, especially considering this was her second ACL surgery on that knee.

“Molly and I had a clear handle on her expectations and that allowed us to dial in the ideal treatment plan for both her knee, but more importantly her as a person,” Dr. Yanke recalls.

During the LET procedure, Dr. Yanke utilizes a small portion of the patient’s iliotibial (IT) band to further stabilize the tendons in the knee and prevent instability. This surgery is done through a small incision on the outside of the knee and does not change the recovery after ACL surgery. “The ACL plus LET can be thought of as a belt and suspenders, one backing up the other,” Dr. Yanke says.

“I really liked Dr. Yanke’s style and his confidence that this was the right way to go,” Bradley says. “He really changed my whole perspective on my future.”

Back on the court

Bradley’s surgery was highly successful and afterward she dedicated herself to physical therapy and rehabilitation. She eventually added plyometrics and agility training when she was cleared to do so.

Today, just one season after her injury, Bradley is back on the platform tennis court. What’s more, she has moved to a more competitive level of play than before her surgery. Game on!

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Yanke to discuss your knee injury, please call 877-632-6637 or schedule online.