Herminia "Mini" Kincaid has been active her entire life — running, skiing and playing everything from soccer to golf to tennis. But over the years, all that activity took a toll. Wear and tear, arthritis and meniscus tears added up to increasing knee pain and decreasing abilities.
A friend recommended to Mini that she go to Mayo Clinic and orthopedic surgeon Cedric Ortiguera, M.D., citing a positive experience the friend had with treatment on his own knees. Mini took the advice and made an appointment to see Dr. Ortiguera at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. He advised that a knee replacement would be her best bet. But Mini wasn't convinced. She feared the surgery may cause her to lose her mobility.
Initially, Mini opted to try cortisone injections and other therapies instead. But eventually the pain took over. When she had to stop doing activities she loved, like running and tennis, and she found it took days to recover when she did too much, Mini realized she needed another approach.
Mini's loss of mobility happened over time, and her first instinct was to adapt and adjust. When she could no longer run, Mini decided to try a different tack to stay active. She took up power walking, logging six to eight miles three times a week. She enjoyed walking on the beach. But she had to give that up, too, as the soft sand became too difficult to navigate.
She then began biking to a gym near her home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to participate in low-impact aerobics and yoga classes. She had to modify the yoga poses, though. "I was limited in terms of position because of my knees," Mini says.
Soon everyday tasks like going to the grocery store and shopping started to become a challenge. But it was after a ski trip to Colorado in early 2017 that Mini knew it was time for surgery.
"I really wanted to ski one more time before I had to give it up for good," she says. "When I went in March, I was in misery."
It was then that Mini decided to go ahead with knee replacement surgery. Dr. Ortiguera shared with Mini that Mayo Clinic had a new robotic-arm assisted device to help position the knee replacement more precisely during surgery. That could help ensure a more natural feel after surgery. Mini signed on. On May 26, she underwent surgery for her right knee.
After she went home, Mini needed to use a cane for only two days. While she's going through physical therapy now to help build her stamina back, Mini says she feels fantastic.
"I'm very pleased. I've had friends that had it done without the robotics, and they are amazed," she says. "I'm walking, going shopping already."
Mini is planning to have her left knee replaced later this fall, and she's planning her next trip.
"I am never going to be able to run again. But I like walking, and I love to hike," she says. "I'm looking forward to my next trip to Colorado, so I can hike. I'm excited to start living again."