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Publications

Get your sports groove back

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Ask 29-year old Kristine Koengetter what athletic activities she likes best, and she’ll answer, “everything,” which includes aerobics, skiing and marathon running — at least five days a week.

She is just as quick to admit that she used to break a cardinal rule of exercising: “Because I am young, I didn’t think I needed to stretch before and after exercise.” After an especially strenuous skiing trip last winter, Kristine knew something was terribly wrong when her knees ached so badly she could hardly move.

Kristine visited several Philadelphia physicians who diagnosed her problem as patellofemoral syndrome. She describes her experiences across the bridge as less than favorable. “No one took more than five minutes to explain my condition to me, and I was never given any instructions on how to treat it.”

“I was in a lot of pain and felt lost,” she adds. Then fate stepped in.

Kristine’s mother, Donna Sarkisian, a Philadelphia resident, likes the William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness so much that she actually drives from Philly to Voorhees to exercise. There, she ran into Jennifer Naticchia, MD, an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Prior to her sports medicine fellowship, Dr. Naticchia had been the Koengetter-Sarkisian family physician.

“It was a stroke of luck,” says Donna. “Dr. Naticchia was both a trusted family physician and a physician who also specializes in sports medicine, so I had my daughter call her immediately.”

After examining Kristine, Dr. Naticchia recommended a course of physical rehabilitation at the Rohrer Center. “Patello-femoral syndrome is a chronic condition where the knee cap — the patella — pushes against the side of the femoral bone. This causes inflammation, intense pain and wear and tear to the bone,” says Dr. Naticchia.

Dr. Naticchia advised Kristine that her knees would hurt for a while, but with slow and steady rehabilitation, she would get better.

And that is exactly what happened.

After steadily working with a physical therapist at the Rohrer Center, Kristine regained her strength and stamina. She also made changes to the way she exercises. “Now, stretching before and after I exercise is as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth in the morning.”