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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 7:11 pm | Fair 51º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Knee Replacements Lead to More Dramatic Performances for Kat Bruington-Garcia

Kat Bruington-Garcia, stage manager at Plaza Playhouse Theatre in Carpinteria, is back on the job after having both knees replaced at the Cottage Center for Orthopedics. “I did everything I was told to do because I wanted them to heal correctly,” she says. Click to view larger
Kat Bruington-Garcia, stage manager at Plaza Playhouse Theatre in Carpinteria, is back on the job after having both knees replaced at the Cottage Center for Orthopedics. “I did everything I was told to do because I wanted them to heal correctly,” she says. (Cottage Health photo)

For Kat Bruington-Garcia, whose “super passion” is performing and managing stage productions, knee surgery meant the show could go on.

“I have been in the theater world for about 35 to 40 years,” explained Bruington-Garcia, who is often found at the Plaza Playhouse Theatre in Carpinteria. “There are just tons of theater people out there who are fun to work with.”

The 63-year-old dealt with arthritis in her knees for two decades before deciding with her orthopedic specialist, Dr. James Zmolek, to have them both replaced at the Cottage Center for Orthopedics.

Injections of pain-relieving cortisone and lubricating hyaluronic acid had eventually lost their effectiveness, making her stage manager work increasingly difficult.

“I literally drug myself up and down the stairs due to severe knee pain,” Bruington-Garcia said. “It got to the point where I could not do very much lifting and carrying because of my knees.”

Bruington-Garcia’s knees needed to both be realigned to prevent instability.

She had both of her knee surgeries at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The right knee surgery was performed in May 2015 and the left knee was replaced eight months later.

A preliminary visit with the “fabulous” hospital staff gave her a clear preview of what to expect. She faithfully kept up her physical therapy, icing and other doctor’s orders during the recovery period for both knees.

“I did everything I was told to do because I wanted them to heal correctly,” Bruington-Garcia said.

She is already back to work at her day job, reading for parts, and says she is “waiting for a show to break.”

For Zmolek, who has witnessed great strides in total joint replacement technology over the past 25 years, helping patients like Bruington-Garcia return to their passions still brings him great satisfaction.

“That’s why I do knee replacements,” he said.

If you or someone you know if suffering from joint pain, click here to take our free joint pain quiz.

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