Going For Gold After Hip Replacement

Dana Potts Runner

Running isn’t just a hobby for Burr Ridge, IL resident Dana Potts—it’s an Olympic sport. Participating in the 100m, 200m, and 400m races in the U.S. Men’s Illinois Senior Olympics, Potts set a record in the 400m event and earned eight gold medals between 2014-2016.

With a track record like that, and goals for the future, Potts didn’t have any room in his training schedule for a painful setback.

Shortly after he set a new state record in the 400m dash, Potts felt a new sensation while visiting his daughter on her college campus.

“Emily and I were shooting baskets. I felt pain in my hip when I jogged over to retrieve the ball and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m just tired.’ But it didn’t get better.”

Potts assumed his pain was due to fatigue or over-training, but he wanted to be sure there wasn’t something more.

He went to see close friend and Midwest Orthopedics at Rush sports medicine specialist, Dr. Charles Bush Joseph, who examined him carefully, studied his MRI, and diagnosed Potts with advanced osteoarthritis in the hip.  He explained that a hip replacement was his best option for pain relief and recommended Potts see Dr. Richard Berger, who performs minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. Dr. Berger’s innovative outpatient procedure allows patients to leave the hospital the same day of surgery. Potts chose to move forward with this unique anterior approach that would not only minimize pain, but also provide a fast recovery.

During the exam, Dr. Berger diagnosed Potts with hip dysplasia, a condition in which the ‘ball and socket’ of the hip joint don’t fit together properly. This can gradually wear away the cartilage in the hip joint, often resulting in osteoarthritis.

Dr. Berger concurred that the best treatment for Potts was a hip replacement.

Concerned about his athletic future, Potts asked if he’d be able to sprint again. Dr. Berger looked him in the eye and replied, “If you were a sprinter before the pain set in, then you can be a sprinter once I get rid of the pain for you.” This was just the answer Potts was looking for and he began to feel confident about someday running his way to first place again.

Potts appreciated Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive, outpatient approach to surgery. He was intrigued by the fact that Dr. Berger’s patients begin walking the same day of surgery.  Dr. Berger explained that his technique eliminates the need to cut through muscles, tendons, or ligaments, allowing patients to get back to physical activities at an exponential rate.

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Potts’ hip replacement was a success and, as promised, he was walking and on the road to recovery the same day.  Just two days after surgery, Potts went back to work. After 10 days, he was walking on the treadmill. After one month, he played a little basketball. At six months, he was back on the track training.

With his new hip and the green light from Dr. Berger, Potts went on to win three gold medals (100m, 200m, and 400m) in the 2016 Illinois Senior Olympic Games. Potts didn’t have a doubt in his mind that he was going to lose.

“I felt very confident in my chances for winning,” he added, giving credit to Dr. Berger’s surgery, his dedication to physical therapy and his rigorous training exercises.

Today, Potts has retired from competing in the Senior Olympics, but continues to run and maintain his physical capabilities, ceaselessly testing to see how far he can go with his pain free hip.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Richard Berger, call Dr. Berger’s New Patient Liaison, Rachel Schiller, directly at 312-432-2557

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Division I Track Athlete Undergoes Cartilage Regrowth Treatment

jasmine smyles

Youngstown State University track team member Jasmine Smyles has been told many times that she has the perfect last name. Lately, this has proven true.

On a recent visit to see Dr. Brian Cole at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, she was all smiles when Dr. Cole reported that her recovery from a brand-new treatment for knee pain was right on track.

A runner since age eight, Jasmine grew up training on less-than-ideal surfaces near her west side of Chicago home. Growing up, she also played basketball competitively, but decided to focus on running track in college.

One year into her track career at Youngstown State competing in the 200 and 400-meter events, she developed pain in her right knee. Like many determined athletes and just 19 years old, she assumed it was temporary and ran through the pain—for two years.

Finally, it became difficult to walk, much less run.

Jasmine’s persistent pain led her health care provider to order an MRI to further evaluate her knee. She was diagnosed with a localized area of complete cartilage loss, a devastating diagnosis for collegiate track runner. Determined to avoid a more invasive treatment, like a knee replacement, she began to do her research.

Finding a specialist

She searched ‘cartilage expert’ online and read about Dr. Brian Cole, a sports medicine surgeon and Director of the Cartilage Restoration Center at Rush University Medical Center. She was pleased to learn that a physician so knowledgeable about cartilage issues—and so familiar with high level athletes—was right in her back yard.

At their first meeting, Dr. Cole listened to her story and clearly understood her desire to run competitively again. He talked with Jasmine and her parents about options which included a clinical trial his team is leading using an innovative new procedure for knee cartilage regrowth. They were intrigued, so he further explained that in surgery, using a microfracture procedure, he would create tiny holes in the surface of the bones in her knee, so that her bone marrow cells would repopulate where her cartilage had deteriorated. A material called GelrinC would be injected over the microfracture and a UV light would be used to create a structure on which cartilage would grow.

Jasmine and her parents agreed to have her participate in the clinical trial and she underwent the microfracture/GelrinC surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

Now, three months post-surgery, Jasmine is walking pain-free and participating in regular physical therapy. She is looking forward to her six-month follow up at which time she will undergo another MRI to evaluate her progress.

She is all smiles when she talks about now being pain-free and perhaps one day running again.

Clinical Trial Information

If you have pain from cartilage loss in one or both knee and are interested in this clinical trial, call  (833) 519 9595. For more information, please visit http://www.gelrinc.com/.

To enroll in the study, patients must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 50;
  • Suffering from knee pain but are not yet candidates for knee replacement;
  • OR already diagnosed with a cartilage abnormality and not yet a candidate for knee replacement;
  • Willing to undergo initial evaluation and imaging to determine if pain is caused by cartilage abnormalities;
  • Motivated to participate in the GelrinC microfracture study.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Brian Cole, call 877-MD-BONES or request an appointment here.

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Four Questions to Ask For a Sports Related Injury

runner injured knee

If you have a sports injury, it’s a good idea to see a sports medicine specialist. Here are key questions to ask before you decide where to be treated.

Q: Do I need a sport medicine specialist?

A: “A sports medicine specialist is a physician who is specially trained to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate people with injuries of the knee, shoulder, back, wrist, ankle, and more,” explains Kathy Weber, MD, sports medicine specialist. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, our sports medicine specialists are also experts at treating concussions, improving performance, and preventing future injuries. We will get you back to your peak performance as quickly as possible.”

Q: Do I need to be an “athlete” to see one?

A: “You absolutely do not need to be an ‘athlete’ to see a sports medicine specialist,” explains Nikhil Verma, MD, sports medicine surgeon. “At Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, while we do treat athletes – from junior high to the pros; we also treat recreational sports enthusiasts, like runners, golfers, and tennis players; plus a lot of people who get physically injured at work or during everyday life. No one can return you to full function like we can.”

Q: What options do they provide?

A: “No sports medicine group in the region offers you more options than Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.” says Julie Bruene, MD, sports medicine specialist. “We have physical therapists, pain management specialists and physiatrists who are experts at helping to relieve pain, build strength and improve performance. And if surgery is needed, we are pioneers at minimally invasive surgery.”

Q: How experienced are they?

A: “Even if you’re not an athlete, you want a sport medicine specialist who has seen it all,” explains Gregory Nicholson, MD, sports medicine surgeon. “We are team physicians at many area high schools, colleges and pro teams, including the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Bulls. And the orthopedic program at Rush is ranked 4th in the nation and #1 in Illinois and Indiana by U.S. News & World Report. So, if you have a sports or physical injury of any kind, put the experts on your side.”

Don’t let knee pain, shoulder pain or hip pain keep you from doing the activities you enjoy. Our top ranked doctors are experts in treating these injuries. Our doctors provide care to patients and athletes from across the globe who are seeking expertise in areas such as hip preservation, cartilage restoration, shoulder and knee reconstruction.

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Youth Pitching Study: The Effect of a Strengthening Program

Image result for core strengthening exercises


This study is examining the effect of a 6-week hip and core strengthening program on shoulder and elbow motion during pitching. Participants are 13-18 years old who pitch in at least one game per week on average during the season. Players will either be assigned to the control group or the strengthening program group. In the strengthening group, players will be taught a hip and core strengthening program and will be expected to complete it daily for 6 weeks. In the control group, players will continue to train as they were before enrolling in the study.


The forces generated by the hip muscles during throwing are vital to the initiation and transfer of power to the arm. Electromyography (EMG) has shown that the legs and trunk provide rotational momentum for the arm and create over 50% of the total force and kinetic energy in a tennis serve. Other studies have shown that as a game progresses, players first show fatigue in their hip and core muscles and then lose their correct pitching form. In order to keep the same speed of their pitch while tired, players often use poor form and place themselves at risk for injury. We hope that using this conditioning program will strengthen the hip and core muscles and allow pitchers to continue pitching with proper form, therefore decreasing injuries.


When the player and parents decide to participate, the player will have baseline measurements taken, including hip range of motion, hip strength and the single leg squat test. Next, players will pitch while there are 1-inch markers attached to their arms and legs, which help us track body movements. If assigned to the strengthening group, players will be instructed on the proper completion of 10 exercises and will be instructed to do these daily before their regular practice sessions for 6 weeks. The program takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Players will also fill out a weekly compliance log of how often they do the exercises. The same tests will be repeated after the player has finished the 6 week program and then again after 6 months.


The testing will take place at the new Rush University Medical Center Sports Training Facility in Oak Brook, IL.  If you believe you or your patients might qualify for one of our clinical trials or wish to be evaluated, please contact our research administrator, Kavita Ahuja, MD at (312) 563-2214 or kavita.ahuja@rushortho.com.


There is minimal risk associated with participating. Risks include injury from pitching, muscle soreness or discomfort associated with completing the hip and core strengthening program. Potential benefits include improvement in the players’ pitching mechanics and/or velocity. However, that result cannot be guaranteed.

Research Graphic

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