Thrive by IU Health

June 15, 2023

Graduate walks with confidence again after knee surgery

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Graduate walks with confidence again after knee surgery

Graduation day is a major event filled with excitement, smiles, and tears as students reach their long-awaited finish line and cross the stage in their caps and gowns.

Alexandria Huebner didn’t want to add crutches into the equation when she needed knee surgery earlier this spring, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Steiner, MD, was there to help her with this goal.

Huebner’s trouble started at her friends’ first sand volleyball game of the year in Evansville, where she was going to school.

“Every once in a while, my knee felt like it popped out of place, and it would pop back in when I straightened it,” says Huebner. “I went to get a ball and felt like I hyperextended it.”

She told her friends she was fine, but the pain almost made her pass out when she stood up. That’s when she knew things weren’t ok.

After an MRI showed a torn meniscus in her knee, she turned to Steiner. The doctor specializes in minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures of the knee and shoulder, as well as general care of the injured athlete, and he fixed her torn ACL when she was in high school.

Huebner says, “I know him. He knows me. He knows my knee. He’s already been in there once—he knows what’s going on. I wouldn’t have picked anybody else even being two hours away.”

So, she traveled to Bloomington to have her surgery on April 11.

“I worked hard for my master’s, and I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to walk the stage one more time and have all my family watching me,” says Huebner. “It was an excruciating pain, and I was limping, but I didn’t want to use crutches or a wheelchair on graduation day.”

And when she told her surgeon about her worries, Steiner comforted her and said she’d be walking for the big day.

“She told me that walking across the stage to get her diploma was what mattered most to her, as long as it was safe,” says Steiner. “So, we scheduled her surgery and rehab to meet that goal."

She went back to Evansville post-surgery to recover and was off crutches four days after the surgery.

Then, on Friday, May 5, Huebner confidently walked across the stage to shake the hand of Ronald Rochon, University of Southern Indiana President, as her friends and family screamed in celebration.

At that moment, her head was full of thoughts of the future and her healing knee.

“I get to move on and do what I want,” says Huebner. “It was it was just an awesome experience.”

“Congrats to her on her recovery and her degree,” says Steiner.

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