A competitive athlete since a young age, when 12-year old Luke Baily started having knee pain during the first few games of the new basketball season, he and his parents figured it was probably a sprain; the active player had had a few minor collisions, and that seemed like a likely cause.
But the aching didn’t respond to typical sprain care, and within a month, the pain became so intense that Luke went to see his pediatrician to get an X-ray. When the X-rays came back, Luke’s doctor suggested he consult with a specialist. The Baily’s contacted Dr. Kevin Klingele and the sports medicine specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, who immediately ordered an MRI.
The MRI revealed that Luke’s right knee had developed Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans (JOCD), a condition where cartilage and a thin layer of bone beneath may detach from the knee. Possibly the result of an injury or several small micro-fractures that had occurred within the previous year, physicians told Luke he could wait to see if the bone would heal on its own or undergo surgery. After discussing the options with the sports medicine team, Luke and his parents chose the surgery, deciding that Nationwide Children’s JOCD surgical outcomes offered Luke a better chance at healing and ultimately, maintaining long-term function of his knee than a “wait and see” approach.
Within just few days of the MRI, Luke underwent the one-hour surgery, which required just three minor incisions in his leg. During surgery, Dr. Klingele drilled the damaged bone to promote healing and implanted two screws to help increase the stability of the cartilage. Luke was on crutches for six weeks and under a very strict healing protocol that prohibited running and jumping – which Luke’s father Paul says he followed like “a champ.”
The knee surgery didn’t keep Luke down though – he made it to every game of the season, and cheered on his teammates from the sidelines. Whenever he had the chance, he would shoot baskets – standing still – and he went swimming with his family – an activity that kept him moving without straining his knee.
However, surgery was just the beginning of Luke’s healing and recovery. While he was resting his knee, his muscles, joints and tendons - all accustomed to intense activity - were compensating for the new way Luke was walking . Once his knee was healed, he began working with Nationwide Children’s sports medicine physical therapists, who designed a personalized plan to help recondition Luke’s body to pre-activity levels and build up his muscle flexibility and strength again – two critical factors to help avoid re-injury. “The therapists are really good,” says Luke. “They push you but not so hard that you feel like you can’t do it.”
Today, Luke is back into competitive soccer and basketball, playing whatever sport is “in season.” Paul credits the sports medicine team and physical therapists with not only getting Luke back in the game again, but taking steps to preserve an important part of his son’s life.
“You never want to jeopardize their future,” says Paul. “I feel like Luke got the kind of care that will keep him healthy and doing the things he loves for a long time.”
A competitive volleyball player since fourth grade, 14-year old Lindsey Frilling didn’t think much of the nagging hip pain she was having during training camp one summer. She continued to stretch out her muscles, thinking it was nothing more than a strain.
Then one day, while sitting down in a chair, Lindsey felt like her hip popped out of joint. The pain was so excruciating, Lindsey was rushed to a local emergency room, unable to bear weight.[read more...]
X-rays revealed that Lindsey had slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), a common adolescent hip condition in which the ball of the hip joint slips off the thigh bone (femur) due to a weakened growth plate. SCFE requires surgery to preserve hip function. The local hospital immediately transferred Lindsey to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, whose orthopedic team has performed numerous types of reconstructive surgeries for SCFE, including a surgery for Lindsey’s hip which is not commonly performed at other pediatric centers.
Within 24 hours of arriving at Nationwide Children’s, Lindsey’s underwent a procedure to reduce and stabilize her hip with pins and screws. After about six weeks on crutches and several months of specialized physical therapy delivered by Nationwide Children’s Hip Clinic experts, Lindsey was finally cleared to get back in the game – which Lindsey says she did “full out” and without any worries.
Her attitude, hard work and persistence paid off - just 10 months after her injury, Lindsey helped her team gain a spot in a national volleyball tournament.[hide]
It was the beginning of sixth grade when 12-year old Billy Chapman began to notice that his left foot was turning inwards and that he was “walking weird.” His pediatrician referred him immediately to Nationwide Children’s where after a series of x-rays, Billy was diagnosed with Legg-Perthes disease, a condition where blood flow to the hip joint is transiently disrupted, causing the bone in the hip to become malformed and weak.[read more...]
Legg-Perthes disease is a rare in a child of Billy’s age, but he was lucky. The hip specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are experienced with caring for older children with this condition, most of who require a specialized course of treatment. Billy had two surgeries to help stabilize his hip, including the placement of a distraction, external hip fixator device. He used a wheelchair and walker to get around for many months while he healed.
Billy’s parents, Tamra and Wayne, say that while the experience has been tough, they’ve kept reminding each other that “every day is a day closer to walking.” They feel Billy’s medical team has made the situation easier because of their attention and willingness to answer any question at any time. “We feel like they’ve taken care of Billy as if he is their own child,” says Tamra.
Billy’s medical team expects him to make a full recovery, and after a few months of physical therapy, Billy will be walking again. A self-described fan of “every sport,” Billy says he’s missed running around with his friends, and can’t wait to play basketball.[hide]
When Abigail Tucker was one year old, she was diagnosed hereditary rickets, a congenital disorder where the genes responsible for normal development of bone don’t function correctly. As a result, the bones in her legs became curved and weakened, making it difficult to walk and some physical activities like hopping, impossible.
Throughout her childhood, Abigail worked with physical therapists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to strengthen her legs. Always the smallest in class, Abigail even tried taking growth hormones. But Abigail’s dreams weren’t to be taller – she wanted to be able to play sports like volleyball and softball, instead of watching them from the sidelines.[read more...]
Her dreams are becoming a reality now that one of the few limb deformity specialists in the nation, Dr. Daniel Ruggles, is working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ruggles told Abigail he could straighten and lengthen her legs so that she could run and jump for the first time in her life.
Dr. Ruggles offer couldn’t have come at a better time - Abigail was finding it increasingly difficult to walk without pain or her knee giving out, and her mother Susan recalls that even short trips to the grocery store had become impossible for the feisty eighth grader.
With the support of the orthopedics team, Abigail decided to have the procedure - spatial frame lengthening tibia and femur fixator-assisted nailing – performed one leg at a time so that she could get around more easily while she was healing. The surgery used metal rods to straighten Abigail’s bones and an adjustable metal frame that helped lengthen the bones slowly over time.
Abigail had her left leg operated on first. She remembers feeling nervous about not knowing what to expect with the surgery, and then afterwards, relieved that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as she imagined.
With cold weather approaching, Abigail and her mother Susan got creative with finding leggings and jeans that could cover up the healing leg, and then slitting them up the side to fit around the metal “halo” – Susan’s nickname for the adjustable brace that encircled Abigail’s lower leg.
Abigail got the idea to lace up the cuts in her pants with colorful and playful ribbons – and promptly started a fashion trend among the girls in her school, who tried to duplicate the look. Her left leg took about 3 months to heal, and she says she passed the time by learning how to create intricate braids for her and her friends.
Abigail is 4 feet 9 inches standing on her new left leg, and every once in a while, pauses at the mirror, imagining what she will look like once her right leg – currently 2 inches shorter than her left - goes through the same 6-hour procedure. Abigail’s excited about the upcoming surgery, and her orthopedic team expects her to make a full recovery within the next year, saying they don’t think the “impressive” young woman will be sitting on the sidelines anymore.[hide]