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Get Back In The Game

Noelle Thew

Berkeley Heights, NJ


Marvin Vettori Photo.png

I've always been an active person - swimming, dancing, cross-country skiing, hiking; you-name-it, I was up to participate. In August of 2011, when I was 19 years old, I broke my knee in a water skiing accident. The top of my tibia slid up past the femoral head, twisting my lower leg in the wrong direction. The accident severed 3 ligaments and crushed my medial tibial plateau. I had to take a semester off from college for reconstructive surgeries and intensive physical therapy, working daily to relearn how to walk. But after months of rehab, I was still walking with a limp and in great pain daily. My leg was bowed, and with no cartilage, the femur and tibia were rubbing against each other, and I questioned whether I'd ever feel normal again.

The following summer, the complexity of my injury moved me through a series of ten knee specialists who each declined ability to treat. I was exasperated - was anyone able to help me? Finally, I came to HSS and met Dr. Marx and Dr. Fragomen. From the beginning, they showed me the utmost care and expertise, explaining what was wrong with my knee and an action plan. Dr. Fragomen applied an external fixator to correct my bowed leg, while Dr. Marx operated on the ligaments. Now almost 3 years since the fixator was removed, I am back to hiking, swimming, dancing, yoga and many activities I love. I graduated from college, and this past spring, I went trekking in the western Himalayas of Nepal, over 1000-meter passes in the snow to do development work in remote villages. Between 11 months on crutches and all those hours in physical therapy, as I struggled to not limp, I had questioned whether I'd ever be mobile again. While I still have to manage arthritis, Dr. Fragomen and Dr. Marx have given me hope of an active life far beyond the original prognosis. Dr. Fragomen and Dr. Marx did more than just restore my leg, they restored my dreams!

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