Thrive by IU Health

March 14, 2024

Runner is back on her feet thanks to new orthopedics space

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Runner is back on her feet thanks to new orthopedics space

Lauren Dunn, clinical dietitian at IU Health Ball, is a workout enthusiast. She loves lifting weights and going for long runs.

In 2021, she and some friends signed up for a local 5K challenge. While training for the race, she would often meet her friend for a jog in the morning. One day, she overslept and didn’t have time to fully stretch before their run, but with her active lifestyle, she didn’t think much of it.

When the pair started running down their first slope, she felt a pop and was flushed with instant pain in her knee. As a runner, she understood that knee pain is normal. She put on her knee brace and spent the next few years taking it slow.

“I was mostly doing okay, but I couldn’t do any advanced physical activity anymore,” she says. “After being almost a year postpartum, I was still struggling to lose my baby weight and I couldn’t exercise like I wanted to. I finally decided that enough was enough.”

Driving to and from work, Dunn couldn’t help but notice the new IU Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine building. It started to feel like a sign to finally address her knee issue. She called the office and made an appointment to see Kevin M. Doulens, MD, FAAOS, FAOSSM, who after conducting an MRI, sat down with her to discuss the results.

“He was so thorough with his review,” she says. “He took the time to truly investigate what was wrong before he made his diagnosis.”

Doulens identified a medial meniscus tear and some bone bruising. He suggested conservative management for the bruising but mentioned surgery might be necessary for the tear.That evening, Dunn reviewed Doulens’ clinical notes on the My IU Health patient portal, contemplating the surgical option. After reflecting, she decided she needed to talk with him about the treatment plan more, so she made another appointment.“

"I was relieved to see that Dr. Doulens agreed that now was a good time for surgery since I need to rest anyway.” she says. Dunn scheduled an arthroscopy and meniscal clean up surgery for the underlying meniscus tear for a week after her follow-up.The surgery would remove the damaged tissue with two small incisions. The healthy meniscus tissue is left in place do its job of protecting the knee joint.

The outpatient surgery was only an hour, and she was one of the first patients to have a meniscectomy at the new surgery center.

“The place was amazing,” Dunn says, “The updated building was so nice, and all the staff were welcoming pre and post-op.”

After surgery and recovery, she was sent home with crutches, pain medicine and an ice machine. Only five days after surgery Dunn returned to work, and after two weeks, Doulens allowed her to return to exercise.

“Dr. Doulens impressed not only me, but also my husband, Caleb, who came to all my appointments,” says Dunn. “We both appreciated his in-depth discussion of treatment options and his recommendations on what I should do. My husband was especially impressed with Dr. Doulens thoroughness compared to other doctors he has been with.”

Now six weeks post-operation, Dunn is regaining strength, with a focus on weight training.

“If you are struggling with pain, I wholeheartedly encourage you to consider booking an appointment. There is no need to endure discomfort when Dr. Doulens can fix you right up,” Dunn says.

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Orthopedics treats problems with bones, joints, muscles and the spine to help you return to your previous level of activity quickly and safely. Now offering virtual visits.