Maybe it was from horseback riding and related falls, but whatever the cause, Sallie Landis was in so much pain, she could barely walk.
Even after having a cyst removed from her spine, she still felt excruciating pain in her left hip. Months passed with Landis trying several therapies and even a cortisone injection. She was frustrated, but not about to give up.
“I’m 59 years old and have always been very active,” said the Englewood resident who is on the management team of a Venice classic car museum and dealership. “I love the outdoors, love to walk and swim.”
Unwilling to continue living with pain and being limited in her activities, Landis sought out a sports medicine physician, Tracy Ng, D.O., with Orthopedic Center of Venice. Dr. Ng is fellowship trained in sports medicine and arthroscopy – a minimally invasive procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. She performs surgery at Venice Regional Bayfront Health.
“Sallie came to me with severe pain in the outside area of her left hip. After hearing her history and symptoms, I suspected bursitis, a problem that afflicts many people, particularly those who have been very physically active,” said Dr. Ng.
Bursitis is swelling in the bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac that cushions the bones and other body parts. Bursitis is typically caused by repetitive movements that hurt the bursae over time. People who complain of pain on the outside of the hip may have bursitis, Dr. Ng said. If pain is on the groin side of the hip, arthritis is a more likely cause.
Bursitis is usually treated with rest, gentle exercise, and medication, but some severe cases may require surgery.
An MRI of Landis’ hip confirmed that she had severe greater trochanteric (outside point of the hip) bursitis, as well as an abductor tendon tear. The abductor tendons are crucial for gait and stability in the hip joint. They are to the hip what rotator cuff muscles are to the shoulder.
“Dr. Ng told me she could definitely help me. She said I could try another cortisone injection, which is a temporary fix. She also explained a more lasting remedy: an outpatient surgical procedure that is done arthroscopically and only requires three small incisions,” Landis said. “After hearing the details and learning about Dr. Ng’s training and experience with the procedure, I knew that was going to be the right choice.”
Dr. Ng’s surgical approach to bursitis requires three to four small incisions to provide access for a scope and surgical tools.
“We will clean up the bursa, look for bone spurs that can be shaved down, release adhesions and evaluate the abductor tendons to see if a tear needs to be repaired,” Dr. Ng said. “If the abductor tendon is torn, we fix it with a suture anchor in the bone and suture the abductor tendon tear back together.”
Generally, patients are limited to partial weight bearing for two to three weeks, combined with physical therapy.
Landis was in and out of surgery the same day at Venice Regional and underwent physical therapy for several weeks.
“I’m not going to say recovery was easy,” she said. “There was pain, and you have to do the PT (physical therapy). But three months after surgery, I was walking two to three miles a day.”
“Sallie has had an excellent outcome because she worked the program and was diligent about following instructions after the procedure,”
Dr. Ng said. “It’s so fulfilling to see patients pain-free and restored to their favorite activities.”
Landis’ surgery was in May 2017, and in October, she climbed hills in Boulder, Colorado, a mountain in Utah, and a radically steep staircase on the Oregon coast.
“I traveled cross-country with my daughter and walked and hiked to my heart’s content,” she said. “I was in pain for two years, and now I’m able to walk and swim again without pain.”
For more information about hip pain and treatment options, call 941-485-3302.
Facts About Bursitis
• Bursae are found throughout the body, but bursitis is most common in shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles.
• You are more likely to get bursitis if you do the same kinds of movements every day or put stress on your joints. People like carpenters, gardeners, musicians, and athletes often get bursitis.
• Infection, arthritis, gout, thyroid disease, and diabetes can also cause bursitis.
• Bursitis is more likely the older you get.
• To reduce risk of bursitis, don’t sit still for long periods of time, cushion your joints when kneeling or putting pressure on your elbows, and take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
Call 941.483.7978 or visit VeniceRegional.com