A soccer player all her life, Ali Werner hoped for a spot on a Division I team when she entered college. But, during her high school junior year, a series of injuries and illnesses threatened to spoil her plans. She pulled a hamstring, injured her groin muscle, her hip hurt, and she developed mono.
She went to a number of local doctors, hoping to find the cause of her hip and groin pain, but was unable to find any professional who could identify its cause. Then, most likely as the result of favoring the injured side, the other side began to hurt as well. Despite these problems, she continued with her soccer and ended up attending Iona College, where she earned a place on their Division I soccer team playing midfield.
Unfortunately, the pain followed her to college, too. Eventually, her school trainer suggested she see Dr. Bryan Kelly, a hip specialist at the Center for Hip Preservation at Hospital for Special Surgery who prescribed physical therapy and Active Release Technique®, a kind of soft tissue therapy using massage and body movement. This regimen provided some relief, but the following year, Ali was back in Dr. Kelly’s office because of pain.
Following a diagnostic injection of steroid and analgesic into her hip joint, it was determined that the pain was the result of hip impingements and labral tears and that she would need surgery to repair them. He also recommended that she undergo a psoas tendon release during the surgery, to ease the tightness in her psoas tendons.
“Before the surgery, I was very concerned,” recalls Ali. “I had never been through surgery and was afraid of what might happen, especially since I was having both of my hips repaired at the same time.” Dr. Kelly took the time to answer her questions and describe what she could expect during recovery. Following a successful surgery, Ali was on crutches for six weeks, and underwent physical therapy for several months afterward. The following fall, Ali was back on the soccer field.
“I’m one hundred percent better,” she says. “I never believed that I’d be able to play soccer again without pain. But now I have no pain in my hips.”