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Physical Therapist Is Back On the Podium After Hip Replacement

May 31, 2013

Paul LaStayo, PhD, PT, CHT, is a competitive cyclist, but when his chronic hip pain got so bad, he could no longer compete. That's when he turned to Chris Peters, MD, at the University Orthopaedic Center, who conducted a total hip replacement surgery. And now, with his pain completely gone, Paul isn't just back to racing. He's back on the podium to winning.

LaStayo, a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Utah Health, conducts research to help older adults regain their mobility and works with patients who need hand rehabilitation. But in 2011, the tables were turned when the 50-year-old researcher and clinician needed some serious help to maintain his own mobility. For six years the avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys participating in sports like bike racing, backcountry skiing, and rock climbing has lived with chronic hip pain.

"The pain was uncomfortable, but what was worse is how it adversely impacted my activities," recalls LaStayo. "I could ride my bike, but couldn't ski or go for a walk with my wife. I was limited by this bad joint. I was unable to do much for several days in a row."

LaStayo's left hip was especially bad, worn out from a combination of congenital conditions and wear and tear from the outdoor sports in which he participated. He tried, but couldn't ignore his condition any longer.

Paul LaStory Biking

LaStayo knew exactly who he could turn to. Ironically, Dr. LaStayo and Dr. Chris Peters, George S. Eccles Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics and specialist in adult reconstructive orthopaedic surgery of the hip and knee at the University Orthopaedic Center, had worked together on a research project for knee joint replacement. So in addition to their professional collaboration, the two forged a doctor-patient relationship when Peters conducted total hip replacement surgery on LaStayo's left hip in May 2011.

"I had no pain since the moment I woke up from surgery," said LaStayo. "I was able to get back to bike racing in about eight weeks. New joints allow you to start over."

LaStayo sings the praises of Dr. Peters, physical therapist Charles Graybill and physician assistant Jill Erickson, and their support team."There is a lot of debate about different components that go into the joints," said LaStayo. "Dr. Peters' program is dialed in. He provides the best options for each individual."

Life is different now for LaStayo. In fact it's better than ever. He recently had his one-year post-surgery follow up and walked out with a clean bill of health. He credits his loving wife, a pharmacist, and Dr. Peters and his team, for getting him to a pain-free state and back on the prize-winning bike racing podium.

He recently won a top award in his age category during the national championship mountain bike racing competition in Sun Valley Idaho. "You can do some homework, but you have to trust your surgeon," said LaStayo. "My right hip is good for now, but I know where to go if I need another one."