While walking with my wife I stepped on a small palm seed, rolled my ankle and fell. Immediately I knew something very bad had happened to my left leg as the pain was intense and I could not move from where I was lying. Two hours later I was diagnosed with a hip fracture and scheduled for a hip pinning the next morning. This took place 1200 miles from home in the lower Florida Keys. A local orthopaedic surgeon told me I had an intertrochanteric fracture and he would be doing a pinning procedure that involved placing a medullary pin in my femur and a Stryker nail in the femoral head. Ten days after the operation, X-rays revealed the nail had migrated to a point where the surgeon was concerned it might damage the hip socket and he recommended a second surgery to reposition the nail. Two months later I was finally able to travel back to Virginia. My leg was now over an inch shorter and in spite of extensive rehab my gait was severely comprised and the pain was still severe. At this point I met with Dr. David W. Romness of Commonwealth Orthopaedics who had been recommended by my internist and who is considered by many to be “the hip man”in the area. Dr. Romness stated the treatment/recovery paths were varied. I could continue with rehab and leg strengthening and if this did not improve my overall condition, I could consider having a total hip replacement. After a few more months of very extensive rehab I decided to have the hip replacement procedure.

My treatment and recovery

Prior to the surgery I took part in a joint replacement class offered by the hospital which explained the steps involved in preparing for surgery and what to except during the recovery period. On July 7, Dr. Romness performed a total hip replacement which also required removal of the in-place pinning hardware together with extensive scar tissue and bone growth at the fracture site. As a result, the operation took over twice the time Dr. Romness normally needs to perform a total hip replacement. I was wake in my room approximately 5 hours later, in no pain and thrilled beyond words when I found my legs were of equal length. An hour later the physical therapists had me out of bed and walking down the halls, it truly seemed to be a miracle. The next day I was released from the hospital and my wife drove me home. I had in-home physical therapy and nursing visits for two weeks and then I began, on an outpatient basis, physical therapy focused on building my hip and leg strength back to normal. I used very little prescription pain medicine the first week following surgery and have relied on over-the-counter pain medicine periodically since then. I am now 10 weeks post surgery and I am walking without a cane, have mowed my lawn twice in very little discomfort and extremely pleased with the results. I can not speak highly enough of the hospital, their staff, and Dr. Romness as to their dedication, kindness, and overall professionalism; they were tops in all areas of patient care.


Do not fear the operation; build up your strength prior to surgery, don't smoke or drink, find the best surgeon.

My Second First

I can walk without the use of a cane, I am back at the gym and in the pool, I can perform most around- the- house activities and I know I will be very close to normal in the next three month. Ed Sponable, age 79


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