Laura McElligott, 47, of Westmont, didn’t realize how important running was to her until it was taken away by pain.
McElligott, who works as a middle school special education teacher, was enjoying an active life which included three miles runs about five times a week. “I definitely am one of those people who is addicted to the ‘runners’ high,’ she explains. “Running seemed to keep my stress under control and just helped with my mental health overall.”
A couple of years ago, she began to have pain in her right buttock. Concerned, but not alarmed, she saw a doctor who diagnosed her with a labral tear in her hip and recommended conservative treatment. This included physical therapy, pain-relieving injections, and massage. Despite these courses of action, her pain worsened, and she eventually gave up running. In doing so, her pain subsided, and she felt better physically, but she missed the sense of well-being that exercising gave her.
Determined not to let pain dictate a sedentary lifestyle, McElligott tried working out, but hip pain quickly followed. After some time, she couldn’t even walk without pain, so she decided to seek a higher level of care. After thorough research, McElligott scheduled an appointment with Dr. Shane Nho of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, a renowned expert in treating hip conditions, including labral tears and impingement. “Laura was a challenging case because most patients with hip labral tears complain of pain in the groin area, not the back of the hip,” Dr. Nho explains. “Once her diagnosis was certain, I knew hip arthroscopy was her best option to repair her conditions and relieve her pain.”
He explained the minimally invasive hip arthroscopy procedure he would use to treat both her labral tear and femoral acetabular impingement in one surgery through a tiny hole in her skin. He also explained the post-op rehabilitation which would include a dedicated course of physical therapy. McElligott agreed and she underwent the surgery shortly after elective surgeries resumed at the start of the COVID pandemic.
Following successful surgery, McElligott was amazed.
“I don’t think I really knew how much pain I was in before,” she said. “My only regret was that I waited too long to have surgery.”
Today, nine months post-surgery, she is enjoying her life and exercising the way she always hoped. She is running four days a week and increasing her distance each time. McElligott says that she appreciates small things more now, like nature, and even her husband has noticed a difference. “I haven’t felt this good physically or mentally in years,” she says.