D. Andrew Parker, MD
As a competitive marathon runner who routinely challenges herself, Lara was used to running through pain. So when the 45-year-old personal trainer from Sandy Spring, Maryland, felt discomfort in her left leg and glute, she did what comes naturally – she pushed through it.
The more she ran, the worse it got. Eventually it hurt so much she couldn’t even walk. A friend who’d had similar symptoms referred her to Andrew Parker, MD, at Commonwealth Orthopaedics, where an MRI revealed a partial tear of her labrum, the cartilage that runs along the rim of the hip socket. Lara also had trochanteric bursitis and gluteal tendinopathy.
“Up to that point, it was not apparent to me that the problem was in my hip,” Lara says. “My pain was along the perimeter of my upper leg, from my groin around to my glute, as well as my adductor and hamstring.”
Initially, Lara resisted surgery. She embarked on an extensive physical therapy regimen to strengthen her glutes and adductors. When her symptoms didn’t improve, she came to the realization that if she wanted to really push her limits, stay competitive and challenge herself as a runner, she would need to go ahead with the surgery.Dr. Parker performed an arthroscopic debridement, a minimally invasive procedure to remove frayed edges and repair her torn labrum. It turned out that Lara actually had two tears, both of which were more significant than the original MRI revealed.
Lara began rehabilitation immediately after surgery to regain range of motion, strength and flexibility in her hip. After six weeks of physical therapy, she started running again and continues to build up her time, distance and speed.
Surgery was a last-gasp effort, but she’s glad she did it. “Everything went so well, and I had so much confidence in Dr. Parker, there was no second guessing involved,” she says. “I would encourage others in my situation not to wait so long. Explore all your options. You don’t have to live with the pain.”