13 Mar Not Stopping For Anyone
Hip preservation allows avid runner to keep moving, weeks after surgery
As the manager of LeConte Therapy Services, Kay Funderburg, 50, of Sevierville, knows the importance of staying active throughout life.
“I took up running when I was 38,” said Funderburg, “I used to do several 5Ks a year, and probably ran about 12 miles a week. It’s my way of exercising.”
About five years ago, however, Funderburg began having pain in her back and her right hip.
“Originally, I went to the doctor for the pain in my back. But an MRI showed everything was normal. But it kind of hurt in my hip, too. It would be sore, then go away, then get sore again. I could still run if I wanted too, but I would have pain afterward.”
Finally, the pain was bad enough to keep her awake at night.
Funderburg went to see Dr. Paul Yau at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Yau is an expert in minimally invasive hip surgeries and is well known in the area for being able to repair a hip, rather than just replace it.
Yau diagnosed Funderburg with hip impingement and a torn labrum.
“For me, the bones in my hip weren’t shaped exactly like they should be, so every time I bent my hip, there were two bones hitting together, which led to the tear in my labrum. He fixed the bones so they don’t do that anymore.”
This hip-saving surgery is relatively new.
“In the past they would either have given you a total hip replacement or you dealt with the pain,” said Funderburg.
“I don’t know that a whole lot of doctors do this surgery. I chose him because I knew Dr. Yau’s surgery and his protocol for rehab are real progressive, and his patients are able to progress quickly.”
Funderburg underwent surgery Sept. 19, 2014. Using just a few tiny incisions and arthroscopic instruments, Yau reshaped the ball of Funderburg’s hip and sewed back the damage labrum. It was outpatient surgery.
“I was home by four o’clock. I never took a pain pill,” she said. “I really had no pain. It was sore, obviously, but I didn’t have pain.”
On crutches for a few weeks, Funderburg had to keep weight off her hip until the bone healed. Then she began physical therapy three times each week at LeConte Therapy Services near her home.
“Dr. Yau has a specific protocol for me to follow, and he told us at what point we could do different activities. The last time I saw him was the second week in December, and he said to give it a month and then I could try to run.”
So in January, Funderburg was back on the treadmill.
“When I was on the treadmill walking and was doing fine with that, I wasn’t having any pain. The first time I ran, I ran for one minute,” she said.
“Then I just progressed the time I’m running a little longer and longer. I’d walk for five minutes, then run for five minutes. I gradually increased the time I ran, until I got to a total of 20 minutes of running, but not all together.
“At that point I felt like I could run a mile and be OK.”
Today, Funderburg is back to running about three miles on the treadmill, and as the weather gets better she hopes to get back outside.
“I’d like to run a 5K again someday. I still have a little soreness when I run sometimes, but not the type pain I had prior to the surgery. I still can overdo it, if I’m not careful,” she said.
Funderburg said she would recommend Yau and Fort Sanders to anyone who needs hip surgery.
“The care was excellent. Everybody’s nice and professional. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”