Marathon runner turns to Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital for specialist double hip surgery

Young adult hip patient Hannah Pollard shares her story following surgery with top Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Vikas Khanduja.

Hannah Pollard with dogs

Fit and active 41-year-old Hannah Pollard has always loved her energetic lifestyle. As an avid horse rider, distance runner and gym enthusiast from a young age, being in the great outdoors and undertaking fitness challenges is integral to who she is. However, when Hannah ran a marathon, one of many she has achieved, it changed her pace of life.

Read Hannah's story:

In September 2018 I ran the Yorkshire Marathon, this was hugely important for two reasons; the first being that I achieved my long-term goal of a sub 3.30 marathon with a time of 3.25.01 (that .01 will haunt me), and secondly, it highlighted serious issues that I needed to address.

I’d had a few niggles going into the race and knew I was going to need a break afterwards, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the journey which was to eventually unfold.

After the race I was in a lot of pain on my left side, predominantly in my knee and lower back. Following a few scans it was discovered I had a labral tear in my left hip. For almost two years I tried the conservative route but eventually my physiotherapist and I agreed that we needed to look at better options as I was still experiencing a fair amount of pain and we felt we had exhausted all other options. 

I was referred to Mr Vikas Khanduja, a leading expert in young adult hip surgery at Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital, in August 2020. Although due to Covid our first meeting was via zoom, I was immediately reassured by Mr Khanduja and the process leading to surgery, if he felt that was the best option, was explained clearly and precisely. I had a further MRI scan followed by a CT scan and then the diagnostic injection, which provided the relief I was so desperately looking for.

Once we had all the clinical data, I had a further appointment with Mr Khanduja where he explained that not only did I have a labral tear, but I also had femoracetabular impingement (FAI) in my left hip. This finally explained so much about the pain I had been experiencing for the last few years, and to be honest I was somewhat relieved to know that there was a reason for it. After discussing the pros and cons and the fact that conservative management had failed, I was booked in for surgery on my left hip in March 2021

On the day of the surgery at Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital I felt mixed emotions. I knew the rehabilitation period post-surgery was 16 weeks back to a normal life, which slightly terrified me. As an active person who is used to being up and out with my dogs at 6am each morning, I knew the enforced rest was not only going to be tough personally but vital to a positive outcome and it was essential that I followed the strict physiotherapy protocol advised for a full recovery. That said, after more than two years of trying to find answers, I was looking forward to receiving treatment and being able to move on with my life.

Mr Khanduja and his team were incredible, I really cannot fault them. The care I received was second-to-none and I felt safe and well looked after at all times. I was discharged from Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital later that evening.

I had an uneventful recovery with physiotherapy and my progress went to plan. I attended regular appointments with Mr Khanduja, who was very pleased with the outcome of the surgery. After five months I started a run-walk plan, and on New Year’s Eve 2021 I ran my first 10k post-surgery. I felt truly elated as I crossed the finish line, not least because I had zero pain in my left hip and was just so grateful to be back doing what I loved!

However, my story doesn’t end there because while the left hip was going in the right direction, the right hip was starting to give me more and more pain. I knew from the scans that I had got an impingement on the right side too, but up until that point it had been asymptomatic. Having had such a good outcome with the left hip, I was keen to get the right hip assessed further and so I had another MRI which confirmed a labral tear and the diagnostic injection which again provided relief from the pain. Following a consultation with Mr Khanduja a few weeks later we decided that going ahead with the surgery on the right hip was the correct decision as conservative treatment was not helping the symptoms.

Due to the nature of my job, I was desperate to get the surgery booked in before April and I cannot thank Mr Khanduja’s secretary, Di Austin, enough for pushing through appointment dates and subsequently getting me booked for surgery in March 2022. The weekend before my surgery I ran another 10k race in a time of 44m.45s, just a few minutes off my 10k personal best. This gave me a huge boost going into the second surgery and something to hold onto when things got tough.

Although I was more nervous second time around, as I knew what was in store, the team at the Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital were amazing! I felt so reassured and my nerves were soon put to rest. The Theatre Practitioner Jamie Woodthorpe was wonderful, and I am so grateful to him for keeping me chatting and laughing as I am not great with needles!

I came round from surgery uneventfully but because I’d had my procedure late in the day and my blood pressure was still low, I was advised to stay in overnight. The nurses were fantastic and so caring, they could not do enough to make sure that I was ok and my pain was well managed. I got home early the next afternoon and the rest and recuperation began again. I have been working with Hayley Jarvill of Bury Physio since the start of my journey and she has been invaluable, I honestly couldn’t have done all this without her.

I recently had my eight-week post-op check-up and Mr Khanduja is extremely happy with my progress to date. I know that there is still a long way to go but I am confident that with my physio and Mr Khanduja’s guidance, I will have another successful outcome.

I won’t say it’s been an easy road, but I am so grateful to have had Mr Khanduja’s expertise along the way and I feel as though he genuinely cares about my recovery. For anyone suffering with hip pain, I really couldn’t recommend anyone else and would happily talk about my experience.

After two years of trying to find answers, Hannah Pollard is getting back in the saddle thanks to the expertise of Mr Vikas Khanduja at Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital.

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This content is provided for information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your GP or healthcare professional.

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