When Morgan was 11, longstanding hip issues began to severely limit her mobility and ability to play her favorite sport, soccer. Even walking became painful. She underwent hip surgery at a hospital in Maryland, but when her hip didn’t improve, she sought care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Wudbhav Sankar, MD, Director of CHOP’s Young Adult Hip Preservation Program, performed surgery on Morgan’s right hip when she was 15. As soon as she was back on her feet, Morgan felt a difference. She continues to gain strength and range of motion in her hips through physical therapy, and is on pace to return to soccer healthier than ever in the fall.
Here, she describes the experience in her own words.
My name is Morgan, and Dr. Sankar changed my life. Around the age of 11, I knew there was something wrong with my right hip. I couldn’t sit with my legs crossed anymore, pull my legs to my chest, or even touch my toes, everything a kid was supposed to be able to do. My right hip only had 30 degrees of flexion and my left hip had about 70 degrees. This started impacting the way I played soccer. My hip would slow me down, and I was in a lot of pain after games. Just walking for 30 minutes around my neighborhood would cause so much pain in my legs.
My pediatrician encouraged me and my family to go see an orthopaedic surgeon. In 2018, I went to an orthopaedic surgeon in Baltimore who diagnosed me with femoroacetabular impingement. He recommended hip arthroscopy, but a few months after surgery, I could tell that my hip hadn’t gotten any better. It had actually gotten worse.
So, we started looking around for a second opinion and found Dr. Sankar at CHOP. After my first appointment with him, I knew right away that he could help me. Dr. Sankar really listened to my complaint and he performed a very careful physical exam (several times, actually) until he understood what was going on. Dr. Sankar discovered I actually had bilateral iliotibial (IT) band and gluteus maximus contracture. The contracture had been there since I was born.
On October 14, 2019, I underwent my second right hip surgery. Dr. Sankar performed surgery to release my IT band and gluteus maximus. Unlike the first surgery, I started seeing a difference right away. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I couldn’t contain my excitement and wanted to show off everything Dr. Sankar did. Being so encouraged by the outcome of the surgery, I decided to have the same surgery on my left hip two months later.
I’d say Christmas came early for me that year. Without Dr. Sankar, his team at CHOP and my personal support team, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am right now. I can sit with my legs crossed, I can pull my legs to my chest, and I can touch my toes. My left hip is now at 110 degrees and my right hip is at 100 degrees — and those numbers grow every day with physical therapy. I owe a tremendous thank-you to Dr. Sankar and CHOP. What a phenomenal surgeon and hospital.