Hiking Again at 74 Thanks to Sports Performance Center

November 10, 2021

In 2020, Kathy Fauth, 74, of Western Springs, IL, backpacked 160 miles to complete the 211-mile John Muir Trail in California while carrying food and supplies weighing between 30 to 35 pounds. Since then, she has set her sights on finishing The Colorado Trail, a 486-mile trek between Denver and Durango, CO, which she began this year.

“I love to hike and backpack wherever I can,” she explains. “Most of my friends have given up on it by now but I don’t want to.”

However, recent nagging hip pain and loss of leg strength threatened to jeopardize her goal.

“Years ago, I had a foot and leg injury which over the years has caused me to experience pain elsewhere in my body and to lose strength in my leg,” Fauth explains.

Determined not to let pain hold her back, she visited her sports medicine physician Dr. Kathy Weber who recommended a course of physical therapy. Once Fauth completed it, Dr. Weber recommended she continue treatment at the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Sports Performance Center in Bensenville. She felt experts there would help Fauth continue to increase her strength and flexibility which she would need for long hikes — and enjoying everyday activities — going forward.

Dr. Weber, a sports medicine physician, and exercise physiologist utilize the Sports Performance Center for both high-level athletes and anyone who might benefit from improving overall strength, endurance, flexibility, and conditioning to maintain high-quality activity and prevent injuries.

Fauth took Dr. Weber’s recommendation and met Sports Performance Center director Dave Heidloff. Together, they discussed a game plan. Fauth found that working with Heidloff challenged her in helpful, new ways.

“Kathy’s goals were to increase her bone density and reduce her injury risk while backpacking, so we customized a program to meet those goals,” explains Heidloff. “We addressed her bone density with safe, progressive overload with compound lifts, reduced her fall risk by incorporating a lot of single-leg exercises, and supplemented her overall strength with blood flow restriction training and innovative functional range conditioning.

Kathy has been visiting the Sports Performance Center once a week for the past two years. She credits the conditioning she has achieved there to set her Colorado Trail goal and her general fitness overall.

“I feel stronger than I did before.”

“I’m amazed that I’ve been able to improve the bone density in my spine by 7%. I used to have osteoporosis but that has been upgraded to a diagnosis of osteopenia. I couldn’t be happier, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to continue to do the things that I love to do without Dr. Weber, her clinical assistants, Jamie and Russ, and of course, Dave.”

Heidloff sees Fauth as an inspiration to other patients.

“Kathy's buy-in to our process and diligence with home training has her keeping up with active grandkids and backpacking through trails many others shy away from. She's been such an inspiration to us in the Sports Performance Center as well as the other clients. Those clients, some professional athletes, are motivated by her presence as they see what is possible with a great work ethic and proper programming.”

If you would like to schedule a visit to the Sports Performance Center in Bensenville or Lincoln Park, please call 708-492-5630 or visit click here.