Patient Stories: Mary


An energetic person at age 56, Mary never thought her physical activities would lead to health problems. “I was a runner for 12 years and I must have just worn out my hip,” she explains.

Today, after hip replacement surgery at Park Nicollet, Mary has a new hip that has allowed her to get back on her feet as both a nurse and an avid walker. She is one of thousands of patients who have benefited from Park Nicollet’s experienced orthopedic surgeons and staff who use the latest joint replacement techniques and components to help patients return to active lives. 

Her journey

Mary returns to cross-country skiing after her hip replacement surgery at Park Nicollet.Mary had been active for many years, first as an avid runner, and more recently as a cyclist. The Minnesota winters didn’t even slow her down. Last winter, after a couple months of snowshoe and cross-country ski outings, she suffered what she thought was a strained muscle in her quadriceps.

“I had never experienced chronic pain before,” Mary said. “It started to affect my walking and my work.” As a nurse, Mary was always on her feet. But the pain made it nearly impossible to get through the day. An X-ray showed that she had no cartilage remaining in her left hip after years of wear-and-tear that led to arthritis.

Short inpatient experience

Mary decided to have hip replacement surgery based on her desire to stay active, and most importantly, live without pain. “I went in for surgery on a Friday and went home late Sunday morning,” Mary says. “It was very quick. The morning after surgery, I began physical therapy,” Mary says. “I went twice that day, then again on Sunday before I left.”

Road to recovery

Because Mary was doing so well after surgery, she was able to do much of her physical therapy at home. Park Nicollet physical therapists gave her physical rehabilitation strengthening and stabilizing exercise materials. Over-the-counter pain medication was enough to relieve any discomfort following surgery.

Mary has almost fully recovered and her pain is gone. “Sometimes I forget that I had surgery,” she says. “I am able to walk my dog and work without struggling.” While she hasn’t returned to cycling, she is back to her active lifestyle. “I would do it all again if I needed to,” she adds. As a younger recipient of the surgery, Mary encourages others not to hesitate. “I think if people are waiting even though they’re miserable, that’s definitely a mistake,” she says. 

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