A Dance Major’s Return to the Stage

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Megan Chiu, now 19, was a stand-out at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and impressed at the Chicago High School for the Arts. When she left for Point Park University in Pittsburgh to pursue a ballet dance major, she was determined to excel. Yet, an ambiguous injury during her junior year of high school left her with nagging pain in her lower leg and foot that only grew more intense as she began dancing at the college level.

Megan continued to practice and compete, but the demands of regular pressure on her toes, feet, and ankles, forced Megan to seek attention from her university’s trainers. They were unable to manage her pain, so Megan consulted sports medical specialists in Pittsburgh. Multiple physicians diagnosed a torn flexor halluces longus (FHL) tendon. The diagnosis required grueling surgery and extended recovery away from the studio. Her mom, Susan, thought they should seek a few more opinions closer to home.

Dr. George Holmes—Foot and Ankle Specialist

On a holiday break from school, Megan asked friends at her old dance studio for advice and recommendations. It was there that she was told about the expert care and treatment offered at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and Dr. George B. Holmes, Jr., a foot and ankle specialist.

Dr. Holmes disagreed with the diagnosis of a torn FHL tendon, but determined Megan exhibited an entanglement of the FHL tendon which extends from the calf, around the ankle and under the foot. In other words, the stress from hard work had inflamed and snarled the tendon but hadn’t severed it. The prognosis was more positive and filled Megan and her family with hope that she may be able to get back to performing at the same level sooner than anticipated.

After undergoing surgery with Dr. Holmes last summer, Megan dedicated herself to physical therapy while working as a teaching assistant for children’s dance classes. A few months later, she was back in her university’s studio for her sophomore year and working hard to get back in shape to perform.

Back On Stage

Today, Megan is thriving. In fact, she earned the lead part in cast A of her university’s spring concert. When the lead dancer in cast B suffered a stress fracture, Megan stepped up to perform in all five shows for both casts.

Megan’s mom Susan shared her family’s pride and joy in Megan’s recovery and their trust in Midwest Orthopaedics for future injuries.


“We were so impressed with Dr. Holmes and his work with Megan’s injury that we took our son to him to address a shin injury just last week! He comes highly recommended by our family.”


To schedule an appointment with Dr. George B. Holmes, Jr., call 877-MD-BONES. For more information about keeping your ankles healthy, visit www.anklesforlife.org.

TISSUE BANK EMPLOYEE REFLECTS ON SECOND CHANCE AT HEALTHY LIFE THANKS TO THE GIFT OF DONATION

SARAH – RECIPIENT OF: JUVENILE CARTILAGE ALLOGRAFT

It was the holidays and Sarah was a young professional excited about her new job in the finance department of a large Denver company. Fun-loving and outgoing, Sarah was happy to offer up her talents for the playful “Stupid Human Tricks” competition at the company’s annual year end party.

Sarah’s trick was a squirm-inducing move she’d been doing since she was a little girl: rising up on her tiptoes, she would rotate her feet until her toes were pointing straight behind her body, with her legs still together. But the trick didn’t go smoothly this time.

“My ankle popped; I thought I broke it,” Sarah said. “The pain was so bad. It was horrible.”

During an initial trip to the doctor, Sarah’s injury was misdiagnosed as a sprain. She went home hoping it would heal on its own. For the next several years Sarah tried to deal with the pain, but her ankle was never the same. The injury began to take a serious toll on her active lifestyle: she could no longer do the things she loved, including skiing and running. She would push herself to play team sports like kickball, but be miserable from the pain for days afterwards.

An eventual trip to an ankle specialist revealed what Sarah already had a suspicion of: her injury was much more serious than a sprain. In fact, the peroneal tendon on the outside of her foot was torn, and worse, a large portion of the cartilage on her ankle joint had torn off. Although her tendon was repaired with a surgery, initial attempts to heal the joint were unsuccessful. Sarah had lost too much cartilage, a tissue the body is incapable of reproducing.

Sarah’s doctor suggested treatment with an autograft, whereby bone and cartilage from her own knee would be transplanted into the injured ankle. As luck would have it, by now Sarah was working for one of the nation’s premier tissue banks, AlloSource. Here she had become aware of the tissue transplantation process. Sarah knew that although frequently used to treat injuries, autografts could lead to other complications: in her case the potential for infection in her healthy knee, a slower recovery from two surgeries and more.

Sarah urged her doctor to consider an allograft transplant, a gift of life from a deceased donor. The decision was made to use one of the newer allografts available thanks to new science: juvenile cartilage.

These grafts, bravely donated by the families of donors just one month to 12 years old, had been found to stimulate new cartilage growth when implanted with stem cells.

Following her tissue transplant, Sarah’s results have been miraculous. After a final surgery in December 2010, her doctors found that cartilage is indeed regenerating in Sarah’s ankle.

“It’s fascinating to see this cartilage regrowing,” Sarah said. And she is able to feel the benefits already.

“I can ski again and it doesn’t hurt. I’ve started to wear high heels again; I haven’t worn high heels for years! It feels really good.”

Her work at a tissue bank has heightened Sarah’s respect for her second chance at a healthy life:

“I have had the opportunity to see it from the perspective that everyone should see it from; I have interacted with donor families and really comprehend that this is a gift of life that somebody else gave to me because they lost their own.”

Sarah also reports a stronger kinship with her colleagues at AlloSource, who work 24/7 to process donated human tissue into allografts used for a host of surgical applications around the country.

“Processing these allografts is tedious and includes a lot of hard work. I’ve been able to thank the techs I work with for what they do every day.”

Competitive Ice Hockey Player Kicks Foot Injury

From Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center

Last year, Holly Barocio, 34 of Chicago, skated with gusto onto the ice, ready to defendHolly2.jpg her co-ed hockey team’s championship title. She never thought that rather than skating away with a trophy in hand, she would be carried off the ice by an ambulance.

Holly remembers the moment she was injured vividly. “Every part of me went left except for my foot. My blade got caught in a groove in the ice and I immediately felt acute pain. After that, I think I was in a state of shock trying to understand what happened.”To make matters worse, her team lost by a two point margin. She says it didn’t help that her teammate and husband, Jason, also left the game when he accompanied her to the hospital. “My husband and I have this brain synergy. We always know where the other is on the ice without even looking.”

At the emergency room, Holly was told she had a clean break and likely wouldn’t need surgery. However, she was not confident in this assessment and sought a second opinion.

“Without a doubt Rush kept coming up, specifically Dr. Kamran Hamid’s name,” she explains. “I liked him right out of the gate; he had great bedside manner and a level of attention and care that I found unique.”


“I liked him right out of the gate; he had great bedside manner and a level of attention and care that I found unique.”


Dr. Hamid took thoughtful measures to consider how Holly’s treatment would affect her commitment to return to hockey. He performed a “Stability Test” to definitively determine whether she needed surgery or not. The results confirmed that her ankle was unstable and would benefit from a surgery.

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Dr. Hamid used a special low-profile metal plate that he felt would best accommodate Holly’s ability to skate. This plate lies closer to the bone to have less irritation with a skate while still providing excellent stability.

Holly’s recovery revolved around her passion for hockey. “I was direct with Dr. Hamid and told him, this is not a deterrent for me. I will return to hockey.” In fact, she was determined to help her team qualify for playoffs. “I am going to play hockey again no matter what. That is how much I enjoy the sport,” she remembers telling Dr. Hamid. “I have a hard time seeing myself as a non-hockey player.”

Now, equipped with her newly repaired ankle, Holly has officially returned to her second home on the ice and reports, “I have been smiling non-stop! No pain, no discomfort.”

Joffrey Ballet Partners with MOR, RUMC

the joffrey ballet

Sports medicine and foot and ankle specialists from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), who are also on staff at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC), have been selected to serve as preferred medical providers for The Joffrey Ballet, the world-class dance company located in Chicago.

The Joffrey Ballet is the newest professional athletic organization for which this practice provides medical care. MOR physicians are also medical providers for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, and the Chicago Bulls.

Dr. Simon Lee, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon and Dr. Leda Ghannad, sports medicine physician, will serve as head physicians for The Joffrey Ballet. Colleagues Drs. Johnny Lin and Kamran Hamid, also foot and ankle orthopedic specialists will round out the medical team for The Joffrey Ballet.

“We will work with the on-site ballet therapists to help the dancers perform in optimal condition, and if an injury does occur, we can immediately provide the required care to minimize time away from performing,” explains Dr. Lee.

An MOR physician will monitor the Joffrey’s on-site training room once a week and attend each of the Chicago performances in February, April and in the summer of 2018. If a higher level of medical care is needed, dancers will be treated at the MOR clinic or at RUMC. The Joffrey team physicians will also provide care for Joffrey staff members.

Approximately 40 percent of dancers’ injuries involve lower extremities, which are typically overuse injuries. “We understand ballet dancers who are a tough breed of elite athletes with rigorous and lengthy daily practice sessions,” says Dr. Ghannad. “While they may sustain acute injuries, dancers’ foot and ankle injuries are usually caused by repetitive movements.”

About The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. The Joffrey is committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.

About Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

Rush University Medical Center’s orthopedics program is ranked #1 in Illinois, according to U.S. News and World Report magazine’s 2017-2018 Best Hospitals issue. Rush also has one of the top sports medicine residency and fellowship training programs in the country.