McFarland Clinic

Determination and Physical Therapy Brings Runner Back to the Track - A Patient Success Story

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June 1, 2021

Ali jumps over a hurdle on the track.

As an active student at Ames High School, Ali knew that she could not let a hip injury slow her down. Physical therapy helped her get back on track.

Ali had injured her hip the summer after her 8th-grade year while running hurdles. Although she tried to rest and strengthen it on her own, even taking some time off of summer track, the pain persisted in making it difficult to walk or to sit during classes at school. The injury also limited the range of motion in her hips.

Ali underwent surgery for her hip impingement and to repair her labral tear, and it was possible she would have to hang up her track cleats. But her determination to get back onto the track did not stop.

Starting Physical Therapy

After a referral from her physician, Ali began physical therapy at McFarland Clinic six days after surgery. At her first appointment with Barb Palas, MPT, SCS, ATC, they established goals to help her recover from her injury and surgery, including:

  • Education in biomechanics.
  • Regain range of motion.
  • Correct muscle imbalance.
  • Learn how to stretch properly.
  • Learn how to decrease overuse of some muscles.
  • Improve core strength and endurance.

Making Progress

At 14 weeks after surgery, Ali progressed to light impact activities and finally to running. Physical Therapy performed a video analysis to provide feedback on how to improve her running and decrease the stress on her hip. Working with Barb, Ali began the Return to Running program at 16 weeks after surgery, gradually returning to running. The program begins with a combination of running and walking, then slowly decreasing walking and increasing running.

“We worked on cadence and pulling with her hamstring to decrease stress on her hip,” says Barb. “This took a lot of dedication and practice.”

Returning to the Track

Ali successfully completed the Return to Running program and regained her hip stability and strength in targeted muscles. Not only is Ali back to running, but she has returned to hurdling for her sophomore year of high school.

“Beyond Barb’s professional training in physical therapy support, her unwavering commitment to helping me work through my surgery recovery mentally and physically has been exceptional,” added Ali.

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