One of the 20th century's most respected and influential Americans and the winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and is the embodiment of athletic endurance. However, while her accomplishments were making her appear unstoppable, she was quietly struggling with intense and debilitating knee pain. In fact, when Billie Jean was just 23 years old and ranked number one in the world, she had the first of eight surgeries to treat her knee pain and instability.
Even after retiring from professional tennis, Billie Jean’s knee pain continued, ultimately sidelining her for the first time in her life. “Ever since the first surgery, everything got worse and worse.” Finally, her pain got to the point where she could barely walk two blocks to go to the gym, and she had gone years without picking up a tennis racquet. “I had to take a taxi to go just a couple of blocks.”
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With her quality of life going downhill, Billie Jean made the decision to meet with her orthopedic surgeon to learn about her options. That’s when she was told she would need both of her knees replaced if she was ever going to have a life again.
The news didn’t come as a complete surprise to her. “The reason I didn't do the surgery earlier was that I didn't think they'd last long enough and I didn't want to have to go through it twice.”
However, because Billie Jean’s surgeon is trained to use the Legion knee with VERILAST Technology, what at first seemed like yet another in a long line of surgeries now felt like the solution for which she had been waiting. The LEGION Primary Knee with VERILAST Technology has been lab tested to provide wear performance sufficient for 30 years of actual use under typical conditions.
“Now that I know about Verilast technology and now that I've got it in my knees, I wish I had done it earlier. I just didn't realize they were available.”
Thanks to her two new knees with VERILAST Technology, Billie Jean King’s knees are pain-free and her mobility has been restored, allowing her the freedom to play her beloved sport again. “I've had to live in ice forever because of my knees. I don't even have to ice my knees now after I hit. I can go play tennis. I can go walking. I can do the bike at the gym. I can do whatever I want. I feel like I’m 20 again!”
Based on laboratory wear simulation testing, the LEGION◊ Primary Knee System with VERILAST◊ technology is expected to provide wear performance sufficient for 30 years of actual use under typical conditions. The results of laboratory wear simulation testing have not been proven to predict actual joint durability and performance in people. A reduction in wear alone may not result in improved joint durability and performance because other factors can affect joint durability and performance and cause medical conditions that may result in the need for additional surgery. These other factors were not studied as part of the testing.
There are potential risks with knee replacement surgery such as loosening, fracture, dislocation, wear and infection that may result in the need for additional surgery. Do not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping unless your surgeon tells you the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if you do not follow your surgeon’s limitations on activity level. Early failure can happen if you do not guard your knee joint from overloading due to activity level, failure to control body weight or accidents such as falls. Knee replacement surgery is intended to relieve knee pain and improve knee functions. Talk to your doctor to determine what treatment may be best for you.