• A New Lease on Life: With a new hip, Rahlene is finally pain-free

    Orthopedics

    May 29, 2018

    MOST people consider surgery as a last resort to end severe joint pain; however, the best option for some might be joint replacement surgery. It was the best option for Rahlene Welch, 64, of Fly Creek.

    Welch is glad she made the decision to have hip replacement surgery. In a matter of weeks, she was back to her usual activities, like walking on the treadmill, walking her dog around the block, traveling and playing nine holes of golf—all pain-free!

    When Welch began having left hip pain in 2016, she tried conservative measures, including heat, anti- inflammatories and pain-relieving medications to ease her pain. Her doctor suggested an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Welch recalls her manager at work telling her, “It pains me to watch you walk— you need to get that fixed!”


    Surgical Solution

    When her pain reached a “15 out of 10,” she had a conversation about surgery with Jackson LaBudde, MD, Associate Chief of Orthopedics at Bassett Healthcare Network, who was working with Welch to help manage her pain with bursa injections and injections directly into the joint, but the relief was short-lived.

    “In May of 2017, she had a little bit of ‘tread left on the tire’ and bone-on-bone,” Dr. LaBudde says. “Later that fall, imaging showed severe joint space narrowing and loss of cartilage in her left hip due to arthritis. The injections were only buying her about a month or so of pain-free time.”

    “By this time, I could only sleep maybe two hours at a time because of the pain. I maybe got one full night’s sleep in the year and a half since my pain started,” says Welch.

    Welch retired Jan. 5 and had total hip replacement surgery on Jan. 15.

    “I’m told that when they took the old hip out, the ball of the hip was flat and all pocked, Swiss cheese- like, from the arthritis,” says Welch. “Nothing was really going to fix that.”

    “Walking was my therapy, using a walker at first and then a cane,” she says.

    Her pain level right after surgery was a 1, but it was more of a dis- comfort related to the incision. “Until I had the surgery, I really was never pain- or ache-free,” she says. Welch currently has no pain. “Yep, zero!” she says.

    Welch looks forward to staying active for years to come and doing all the things she loves to do.