Finishing the Richmond Half Marathon in 2016 should have brought a thrill of accomplishment for Karen Quick. Instead, it confirmed one of her fears: Something was terribly wrong with her hip.
“I’d had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right,” she recalls. “But after the race, I had such pain that I had severe difficulty even walking.”
After trying nonsurgical options like physical therapy, she finally saw an orthopedist and was told that a hip replacement was her best chance at getting back to the athletic and professional life she loved.
An avid CrossFit gymgoer and frequent runner, 49-year-old Quick was also on her feet all day as a nurse — and was finding it more and more challenging to get through a shift or even to go grocery shopping or run errands without limping and pain.
After getting a second medical opinion and considering other hospitals, she decided on the Augusta Health Joint Center and got an anterior hip replacement — a newer procedure that promised a faster healing time and lower risk of dislocation.
To say the surgery was a success is an understatement. In fewer than two months after the procedure, Quick was back at her CrossFit gym. Although she had to do modified workouts at that point, it took only a few more months before she was jumping, lifting and running just like before — but now without pain.
A major part of her recovery actually came before the surgery. The Joint Center’s dedication to making sure that every patient knows what to expect, and is in the best possible shape going into surgery, helped speed Quick’s post-op progress, she believes.
“As a nurse, I knew generally what I was in for in terms of surgery and recovery,” she says. “But there were so many things I wouldn’t have thought about when it came to adjusting.”
For example, Joint Center staff helped her learn how to walk up stairs after the hip replacement, and how to get in and out of the shower.
Successful joint replacement procedures depend on the skill of Augusta Health surgeons, but the doctors are not the only ones responsible for fueling great outcomes.
The Joint Center, which is now in its fifth year, has a comprehensive range of resources that extend from pre-op classes to post-op occupational therapy and physical therapy in order for patients to be as prepared as possible for what’s ahead, according to Gena Johnson, director of the Joint Center.
One of the most notable examples is the pre-op class in which patients learn everything from how to prepare their homes for post-surgical recovery, to the best options for walkers and compression stockings, to what their meals will be the day after surgery. A similar class is held before discharge to go over information that the patient and patient caregivers will need.
“They know what’s coming, every step of the way,” notes Bonnie Sanner, RN, Joint Center care coordinator. “And by being able to get them home sooner, patients have decreased risk of complications and greater ability to recover faster.”
Ready for recovery
The extensive way that the Joint Center prepares patients is about much more than physical recovery. Knowing what to expect — right down to what times meals are served or when ice packs are changed — provides a level of comfort and assurance that helps patients have more confidence.
Quick knows that firsthand as a Joint Center patient. “For something like this, your motivation and engagement really do matter,” she notes. “The Joint Center prepares you in every way for what’s ahead, and I feel that’s a big part of a successful recovery.”
For more about services at the Joint Center, visit augustahealth.com/joint-center, or call (540) 332-5047 (Staunton) or (540) 932-5047 (Waynesboro).