Katie Cecil — Stress Fracture

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The ChallengeKatie Cecil

During her senior year at Carnegie Mellon University in 2013, All-American athlete Katie Cecil could no longer ignore a pain in her left foot. She was an avid tennis player, looking forward to her final competitive season, but the nagging discomfort had haunted her for almost three years and it was time to seek answers.

The Path to UPMC

With help from the Carnegie Mellon athletic training staff, Katie was introduced to orthopaedic surgeon MaCalus V. Hogan, MD. It was perfect timing, according to Katie, as Dr. Hogan had just recently arrived in Pittsburgh after accepting a position at UPMC.

An MRI showed that Katie suffered from a stress fracture in her navicular bone, which is one of the bones in the mid-foot, located at the top of the arch. Due to the severity of the fracture, she would require surgery. Katie instantly wondered what this would mean for tennis.

Fortunately, Dr. Hogan, of the UPMC Foot and Ankle Center, was able to get Katie on the surgery schedule immediately. He inserted a screw across the fracture and placed Katie’s foot in a soft cast. She would later transition to a hard cast and then a boot and crutches, totaling eight weeks off of her foot.

Although she missed the fall season while rehabbing and recovering, Katie was able to return for the spring and ended her collegiate career on a high note. Through the experience, she also made a new friend.

“Dr. Hogan was always very friendly; very warm,” she said. “He’s almost too generous of his time. He really went that extra mile to make sure I felt like I had the best care possible and now I know I did. When he learned I was applying to medical schools, he asked if I wanted to shadow him in the operating room. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and I actually got to watch him perform another navicular stress fracture procedure.”

Katie is now preparing to enter Baylor College of Medicine next year. Although she hasn’t decided on a specialty, orthopaedics is certainly on the list.