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Powerlifting requires a great deal of both physical and mental strength, determination, and focus. Katie Intini, a patient of Dr. McDaid, has all of those traits and recently won a powerlifting meet with an impressive 260-pound squat and 290-pound deadlift. This is a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, but the story behind Katie’s accomplishment makes it even more incredible.

Katie Intini, who just turned 50 years old and is a mom of two, started powerlifting in just the past few years and has already placed first in her age/weight class in only her third powerlifting meet. She started powerlifting after having surgery on both of her hands for advanced arthritis.

Before Katie was determined to succeed in powerlifting, she was determined to find the best orthopaedic care and overcome hand pain that was greatly reducing her quality of life. She explains, “I was not able to knit, open jars, fold socks, really anything that required a firm grasp or mobility of my thumbs.”

Katie scheduled an appointment with Patrick J. McDaid, MD of OAA’s Hand Institute after experiencing pain and weakness in both of her thumbs that was gradually worsening.  At her initial appointment, Dr. McDaid found that she had arthritis and recommended starting with conservative treatment to see if that would help before considering surgery. Dr. McDaid gave her cortisone injections and although the injections helped for a while, the pain did not completely go away for Katie. When the pain started to interrupt her sleep, Katie decided to talk to Dr. McDaid about more options.

Dr. McDaid and Katie discussed the option of surgery to help with her pain. Dr. McDaid explains, “Katie continued to have persistent pain after trying conservative treatment, and she was motivated and determined to get better. This made her a good candidate to have surgery. It is always best to allow patients to decide for themselves that the pain of arthritis is to the point of interfering with their daily activities.”

Katie also understood what was required of her post-operatively and knew how important dedication to her recovery would be. Dr. McDaid says, “Patient satisfaction relies heavily on an understanding of what is required of them post-operatively.  A surgery of this nature is a big commitment as patients are often immobilized in a cast for 4-6 weeks and need to attend therapy for several weeks.”

After discussing surgery with Dr. McDaid, Katie decided to move forward with the procedure on both of her thumbs. She says, “Dr. McDaid was very informative about the condition and options. I felt he listened to my concerns and was awesome with post-surgery care and follow-ups. The whole staff is amazing. They are kind and concerned.” Katie had surgery on her right thumb first, and then the left at another time. She says of her recovery, “The first few days were rough, but I got better every day.” Katie’s traits of focus and determination played a major role in her daily improvement.

During Katie’s recovery, the owner of her gym, CrossFit Adoration, had her come in and squat since she was limited to only one arm movements. She worked with her one-on-one while she was in the cast. Katie felt motivated by this and developed a passion to excel in powerlifting. She says, “Once I was released back to exercise, I continued to lift with her and a year-and-a -half later, I have just competed in my third powerlifting meet and placed first in my age/weight class. My life truly opened up once I healed.” Dr. McDaid is proud of Katie’s accomplishments and happy that the surgeries helped her find this new passion in powerlifting.

Dr. McDaid explains, “Not all patients with arthritis need surgery, and the surgeon alone should not make the decision to proceed. I recommend all patients try non-surgical treatment before electing to undergo surgery. Surgery is appropriate when the pain has reached a point where the patient is no longer able to participate in the activities they enjoy, and they are aware of what is expected of them after surgery.”

“So often I am told by patients that they think they either have to live with the arthritis or if they have surgery, they won’t be able to continue to use their hand for sports or work. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In the right patient, thumb reconstruction is associated with a very high degree of patient satisfaction.”

Dr. McDaid understands the vital role he plays in his patients’ lives and the importance of helping patients return to their daily activities. His practice at OAA is focused on hand trauma, arthritis, reconstructive surgery, adult and pediatric fracture treatment, and nerve compressions.

OAA’s Hand Institute is proud to provide the most comprehensive treatment for upper extremity disorders in the region. To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic physicians, call 610-973-6200, or fill out the “Request an Appointment” form on our website.