Originally, from Sumiton, Alabama, I danced for 12 years with ShowStoppers Dance Company and then 6 years as a cheerleader. I cheered for my alma mater, Dora High School. Throughout my training, I was shown how to correctly stretch in order to be flexible.
My right hip began to bother me gradually over time. There were moments that my hip would pop so loud that everyone in the room could hear it. Although, it was not painful. Two years ago, I started nursing school. I was on my feet a lot with clinicals. As nursing school progressed, my clinicals became longer causing me to be on my feet more often. My hip started to hurt, but I was not experiencing any pain. It just felt tired.
When I graduated and started my new job as a nurse at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Medical Center, I felt constant pain all day long in my hip. It felt like grinding of bone on bone. I had kept delaying seeing a physician about it because I had dealt with it this for so long. Now, it was painful to walk, sit and squat. In addition, it was interfering with my job duties. As a nurse in the COVID ICU unit, I needed to assist patients and help lift them at various times. Because of my hip pain, I could not use the proper body mechanics for lifting patients.
My brother and I are both former athletes and had great previous experiences seeing the physicians at Andrews Sports Medicine as teenagers. So it was the first place I thought of when needing to get my hip looked evaluated. Andrews Sports Medicine has a great reputation for taking care of athletes and I would not go anywhere else.
Initially, I made an appointment with Dr. Emily Bell Casey, non-surgical sports medicine and orthopaedic physician. She evaluated my hip and reviewed my x-rays. She ordered a MRI to investigate further. Dr. Casey noticed something going on with my labrum that alerted her to refer me to Dr. Michael Ryan, orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in treating hip conditions.
At my appointment with Dr. Ryan, he shared with me that I had torn my labrum. He recommended that I have a hip arthroscopy and labral repair. Dr. Ryan explained the procedure in detail. Before I even told him I was a previous dancer, he said he could tell because it was normal for dancers to experience this condition gradually over time. Dr. Ryan told me that the hip impingement aided the tear over time.
The post-surgical plan for my hip is best described as delicate and lengthy. It was a 12-week process and included crutches and a brace. I began physical therapy two days after my surgery. My therapist slowly increased the scope of what I can do with each visit.
Overall, I am so thankful I finally took the time to take care of my hip. If I was able to offer any encouragement to someone experiencing the same thing, I could not emphasize enough for them to not delay going to see a physician. If you know something is wrong, then get it checked out. Do not let life get in the way of taking care of yourself.