Leader Blues

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville man has new personal best

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

Two total knee joint replacements have not stopped Bob Koorstad from conquering marathons, they just made him faster.

“I’m not going to finish first, but I’m not going to finish last. I’m out here to enjoy the competition,” Koorstad said.

Koorstad said “A marathon is a celebration for the time spent training.”

A Jacksonville resident and retired Jacksonville High School advanced-placement biology teacher, Koorstad taught for 22 years and was at JHS from 1983 to 2007. He was also a Red Devils baseball coach for 13 years until 1988.

Koorstad has pushed his body for 26.2 miles in races since 1989. He said the races are good exercise and you are with a group of people you like to be with. He went from running to walking the marathons in 1994.

He said that he likes to compete in marathons but during his training sessions the pain was such that he could no longer continue.

Before Koorstad had surgery, he said he had three years of intense pain that would not abate. His knees were swollen and they had a grinding feel with each step that he took. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

A visit to an orthopedic surgeon gave Koorstad hope that he could continue his training.

Koorstad, 64, had knee-joint replacement surgery in 2007 at North Metro Medical Center with Dr. Martin Siems of Ortho Arkansas as his surgeon. He had his left knee operated on in July and his right knee in November.

Koorstad was in the hospital for two days and spent three days recovering at home.

He underwent eight weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy with therapist Chip Glenn at Jacksonville Medical Center.

For knee-replacement surgery, North Metro Medical Center has the advanced DePuy Ci system, which is minimally invasive. It is a computer-guided precision surgery system that assists orthopedic surgeons through sophisticated computer software which helps guide surgical instruments.

Siems said North Metro was the first hospital in the state to purchase and use the system. The system can determine sizing where other systems are not as advanced.

Surgical nurse Kerry Ward was with Koorstad for both knee operations. Ward said, “Everybody’s knees are different. The computer makes a model of the femur and tibia ends.”

The computer tracks the alignment of the instruments and improves the accuracy of cuts. “The success of the total joint replacement relies on the balance and the alignment coming together,” Ward said. The titanium replacement joint is estimated to last more than 15 years, depending on use.

Jason Cates, Siems’ physician assistant, compared the computeraided precision knee joint replacement surgery to the relationship of a car’s front-end alignment and its tires. The joints are aligned and then balanced to provide even wear over time.

In his first year after surgery, Koorstad did not participate in marathons. His knees were healing. He said he merely walked from his car to the grocery store.

Now every Saturday at 6 a.m. Koorstad meets with coaches Tom and Hobbit Singleton and the Little Rock Marathon training team to workout from 2- to 20-mile distances.

In March in his first race after his knee operations, Koorstad set a personal goal by finishing the Little Rock marathon in six hours and 31 minutes. He came in 27th out of 60 walkers.

Koorstad was able to cut an hour off his best marathon finishing time. He also knocked two hours off his finishing time from his first Little Rock marathon in 2002.

“My goal is to compete in 50 marathons in 50 states.” Koorstad said. He encourages others to participate in marathons. “If I can finish a marathon with two knee replacements, anybody can,” Koorstad said.