Luke pulls out his kick starter, and after a few kicks, brrraaapppp! The sound of his classic motocross motorcycle rips through the air. He sits forward, with his body close to the bars of the motorcycle as he takes off. Knees bent, elbows out, Luke pops up standing in his neutral position on the bike, chest over the bars, body slanted, feet arched, he builds up speed to go into a turn. He cracks his throttle wide open as he goes into the turn, he flows his body right to the front of the bike, pulls his left leg out to set up for the turn.
Luke, 64, not only rides recreationally along trails, he competes. It’s a misconception that motocross is all about speed, it’s a combination of being able to establish good throttle control, brake control and body positioning — making motocross riding one of the most physically demanding sports.
Luke has always been active — running, cross-training, bicycling and motorcycle riding are just a few of his hobbies. At 61, Luke retired from a long career in aerospace, giving him more time for his
active lifestyle. Around that time, Luke’s knee began to ache.
“The pain in my knee was liveable, but not enjoyable,” says Luke. “I wanted to enjoy my years of retirement — and I knew I wanted to go back to bicycle and motocross riding again.”
Luke had learned about limb length discrepancy — a common concern with joint replacement surgery — and the need for revisions from fellow hobbyists. After three years of managing the pain and learning about the risks, Luke met with his primary care physician and was referred to Andrew Wassef, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Medical Center where he learned about Mako™ Technology.
Long Beach Medical Center offer’s Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee, Partial Knee and Total Hip procedures. Mako Technology provides a 3-D model of your unique anatomy to assist the surgeon in pre-planning and precise placement of knee and hip implants. When the surgeon prepares the bone for implant, the Mako System guides the surgeon within the pre-defined area and helps prevent the surgeon from moving outside the planned boundaries. This helps provide a more accurate placement of the implant.
“I explained to Luke that we use a robotic-assisted surgical technology called Mako,” says Dr. Wassef. “Mako brings a new level of precision to treating patients with knee and hip pain.”
Dr. Wassef recommended that Luke give Mako Partial Knee replacement a try. Given his professional background and appreciation for robotics, Luke instantly became a fan of Mako.
On December 12, 2016, Luke underwent partial knee replacement surgery. Hours after his procedure, Luke was back to walking, with support from his “coach” — his wife.
“I can’t imagine not having the surgery,” says Luke. “It’s still a little sore, but that’s because I am hard on my body with all of my hobbies. Despite pushing my body to the limit, my range of motion in my knee is fantastic. I’ve been working on the exercises that the therapist shared to bring back my strength — the class was really key for my recovery.”
About two months post-surgery, Luke returned to racing motocross competitively. And today, Luke is excited to reach his ultimate goal — bicycle racing.
“It’s a really great time with a bunch of old guys,” says Luke. “At this point, I’m on track to meet my goal and hopefully start training in the fall. Don’t count me out, I plan to pursue a couple national championships. I full-heartedly believe it’s better to burn out, not rust out!”
- Orthopedic Surgery