Kathy Burkhart

After five years of debilitating chronic pain, Kathy Burkhart found relief and the answers she’d been searching for at Toronto Rehab.

In July 2010, Kathy fell running up the stairs with a laundry basket. She broke her ankle and had to wear a cast for 12 weeks. Once out of the cast, she started a standard course of physiotherapy, but her leg was not healing; in fact, it was getting worse.

The pain was constant and excruciating. She was prescribed pain blockers and received a nine month course of intravenous antibiotics before undergoing an operation to remove a benign tumor that had grown on her leg. Still, her leg would not heal.

Five years after the fall, in July 2015, Kathy was referred to Dr. John Flannery, Medical Director of Toronto Rehab’s Musculoskeletal (MSK) Rehab Program. Dr. Flannery and his team diagnosed
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS): a rare and often misdiagnosed disorder of the sympathetic nervous system that is characterized by chronic, severe pain and often extreme sensitivity.

Given her diagnosis her team recommended amputation and a course of pain management as the best way to relieve Kathy’s unbearable symptoms so that she could get back to her life.

“I have gained independence; I can walk and cook on my own,” says Kathy. “I am not reliant on others for my care and mostly…I have my pain under control! Thank you Toronto Rehab for being incredible.”

Read Kathy’s story and more about Toronto Rehab’s MSK Rehab program in our Report to Our Community
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