At 65 years of age my arthritic hip had taken its toll on my overall health. I lived with pain and a pronounced limp. I could no longer ride a bike, play racquetball, sleep through the night, drive a car for more than 15 minutes or even put on my shoes let alone trim my toenails without severe pain. I had been a runner for years and still clung to the discipline despite the pain. In training for the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April of 2012 I had developed severe pain in my right hip only to find out after the race that I had a hairline fracture of the hip from the impact of bone on bone. My orthopedic physician, Dr. Steven Yemm, recommended hip replacement surgery and referred me to Dr. Rector. Dr. Yemm had had the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) replacement procedure done on his hip and gave me hope that I may be able to run again.
Dr. Rector reviewed all my options, discussing the pros and cons of each. He advised me that I was at his maximum age for the BHR procedure and that if I wanted to have it done I needed to schedule it soon. I scheduled my surgery for Sept. 19, 2012. During the pre-surgery screening Dr. Rector’s team identified a serious concern. Rather than wait until even the next day, Dr. Rector called me after hours at home and calmly discussed his concern. He had his staff arrange for additional testing the next day, even taking the time to contact my insurance and arrange for coverage. Again Dr. Rector called me the same evening from his home to share the favorable test results. I could sense his relief and the level of concern he had for my health even beyond my hip.
I ran my last race the Sunday before surgery and 6 miles the day before. The level of pre-surgery orientation and training made me feel as prepared as possible for surgery and the rehab process. Dr. Rector visited me in the hospital to let me know that the surgery went well and came back the next day to monitor my progress. I went home from the hospital two days after surgery on a single crutch with manageable pain. I received in-home physical therapy for the first week at which point I had been on a single crutch for only 2 days and able to manage stairs and was walking up to a mile. After two weeks I was off all pain medication and had begun physical therapy at Rebound Sports and Physical Therapy under the tutelage of Brad Ott who has worked with a number of runners in Northern Colorado.
I had no idea how much my leg had suffered from running on the bad hip. I now was learning how to engage and activate the proper muscles, develop balance, muscle control and strength. Starting with non-weight bearing exercises, Brad had me working daily on getting my leg and hip healthy. At 4 weeks I was biking up to 20 miles and able to hike 5 miles on easy Colorado trails. I returned to work after 4 ½ weeks. By 3 months my limp was gone, I was sleeping through the night and able to drive without pain. I was hiking, climbing and had snow shoed to 11,000 ft. Putting on my shoes and even trimming my toenails was now normal. I continued to see Brad weekly where he now had me working on weight bearing exercises. At my 4 month checkup with Dr. Rector I was anxious to show him how far I had come and learn when he thought I might be able to return to running.
Dr. Rector measured my flexibility and took a survey of my progress. He told me I could start with easy running at 6 months under the guidance of Brad. With this news, Brad then introduced light impact exercises and harder workouts looking for symmetry of motion and any favoring of the reconstructed hip. At 5 months he commented that if he didn’t know he would have trouble telling which hip had been worked on. Even I couldn’t tell the difference in my new hip and my existing healthy one. I was so ready to run again.
The six months finally came and I started running on the treadmill. After two weeks of gradually increasing my running without any pain in the hip I moved to the road. At seven months I was able to run 3-4 miles every other day. I knew I had a long way to go to get back into race condition but was so happy just to be able to enjoy relatively pain free running again. My final physical therapy sessions involved testing for range of motion, muscle activation and strength of my reconstructed hip versus my good leg. Brad addressed some lingering heel and knee pains with hip alignment exercises that not only relieved the pains but improved my running. I was now running 4 days a week (18-20 miles). I registered for my first race, the Houska Houska 5K on Memorial Day. I hadn’t done any speed work and only pushed myself on the Friday before the race. I was surprised at the 24:39 time I registered on my watch. Eight months after surgery and I was a runner again!
I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Rector, Stacy and the rest of his staff for the excellent care and support they have provided. Likewise I would like to extend my appreciation to Brad and his staff at Rebound. I have been told that the surgery can be done by a qualified surgeon but the therapy is the key to full recovery. Certainly Dr. Rector’s expertise put me in the best position to maximize my recovery but without Brad taking a personal interest in making me a better runner I would have settled for much less than he ultimately required of me. He went way beyond just my hip and addressed a number of other related aches and pains. I fully plan to continue to be active and again run for many years. I feel like Dr. Rector and Brad Ott have literally given me back years of quality pain free life and the activities that I love.