While training for the annual Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, a 35-mile uphill hike through the Pittsburgh area, Kate started to feel intense pain in her hips. Thinking her muscles simply needed to loosen up, she continued to train for the hike.
“I thought my hip flexors were just tight,” Kate recalled. “As time went on, training started to become very painful for me.”
When her pain persisted, Kate decided to take a break from training and seek medical attention. During her appointment with Aaron Mares, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at UPMC Sports Medicine, she was diagnosed with a left hip labral tear and hamstring tendinitis.
After diagnosing Kate’s injury, Dr. Mares referred her to his colleague, Craig Mauro, MD, and the UPMC Orthopaedic Care Hip Preservation Program. Given that Kate had yet to try conservative therapies, Dr. Mauro recommended she begin a course of physical therapy before considering surgery.
Kate began a six-month physical therapy program at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex with Ashley Disantis, PT, OCS, as her physical therapist. Ashley developed an individualized, holistic, full-body exercise regimen to treat Kate’s injuries. Through a variety of exercises such as side-steps, single leg deadlifts, and balance drills, Kate began to regain her strength and her pain decreased over time.
“I was really surprised by the range of exercises Ashley had me doing,” Kate said.
In her spare time, Kate continued her exercise regimen at home for the best possible outcome.
The Road to Recovery
After completing her physical therapy, Kate returned to some of her favorite activities, including hiking and biking. More recently, Kate and her husband, Chad, enjoyed an eight-mile hike up a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado.
“I was able to do a lot of hiking,” Kate shared. “It was very steep, but I was able to do it.”
Kate continues to maintain her fitness and regular exercise. She attends gym classes that allow her to remain consistent with strengthening her body.
“It really helped to work with a physical therapist who specialized in the injury I had,” Kate shared. “That made a huge difference for me.”
Kate's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.
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