Katelyn’s story: Thriving after 3 knee surgeries

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

Related Medical Services:


Katelyn Peterson is proof of the power of perseverance.


She blew out her left knee, tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus during warmups for her first varsity volleyball match as a sophomore at Mishicot High School in the fall of 2005.


As a high school senior, she blew out her right knee during a varsity basketball game in the winter of 2008. Same deal. The same two major ligaments torn, along with the meniscus, or cartilage.


Two years out of high school, in 2010, still bothered by her knees, she found out the menisci were again torn in both knees.


“I felt like I would never be able to run, jump, bike. I felt like I was just lucky if I could walk again,” said Peterson, 26, who’s always been active.


Each time, Peterson turned to Dr. Jon Henry, an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in Manitowoc, for surgery to get her going again.


“The goal is to help individuals recover from injury and to restore their desired level of activity,” Henry said. “Katelyn accomplished her goal and got back to an active lifestyle. She’s been a success story.”


The knee injuries also shaped Peterson’s career choice. She’s now a physical therapist at Aurora Rehabilitation Center in Manitowoc.


“I specialize in sports medicine rehabilitation and I am able to relate and empathize with my patients because of my previous experience,” said Peterson, who earned a doctor of physical therapy degree at the University of Wisconsin. Simply put, it’s her passion. Peterson does running analysis and has worked with professional athletes on running mechanics and sports rehabilitation.


But after that first knee injury as a high school sophomore, “I really didn’t know what I was in for,” Peterson said.


Once the swelling goes down after ACL surgery, patients work to regain motion and restore their level of confidence in the knee. They work to strengthen muscles around the knee, along with strengthening the hips and the core, all to provide stability for the knee.


After the second knee injury, Peterson knew immediately what she’d be facing.


“When you do it once, you never forget that feeling,” she said.



But the torn menisci after high school, well, that was a bit of a mystery.


“I couldn’t run. My knees would always just be killing me. After that I went to Dr. Henry and asked ‘What’s going on here?’,” Peterson said.


Henry solved that mystery, detecting the meniscal tears.


“Katelyn experienced some mechanical irritation within the knee related to the torn meniscus, which was fixed by arthroscopic surgery,” Henry said.


Peterson, who lives in Denmark, is indeed back in action.


“Now I cross-train, bike and run. I’m back to running. I run 3 to 6 miles every other day.”


Running, she says, is “a stress reliever for me. … I like to be outside.”


Henry endorses her approach.


“She’s done the right things recovering from her knee injuries. It’s important to keep moving, stay active and maintain muscle function.”


Dr. Jon Henry sees patients in Manitowoc, Green Bay and Chilton. To request an appointment, call 877-229-2273 or do so online.



© 2020 BayCare Clinic.

All Rights Reserved.

BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.