Back in the Saddle
Peggy rides pain-free after decades of battling chronic pain

 

For more than three decades, Peggy Phaklides lived with pain in her left hip, which caused her to limp when she walked and gave her great discomfort when she was riding her horse in the Atascadero countryside near her home.

Horseback riding, her favorite activity, was the cause of her injury. Peggy, 56, says she hurt her hip when she fell off her horse in a riding accident at the age of 21. The injury wasn’t visible on an X-ray until just a few years ago, she explained, but she’s been plagued by the pain for nearly 35 years.

 

During most of that time, she used anti- inflammatory medications and physical therapy to help cope with the agonizing ache in her hip.

 

 

Peggy Phaklides with Nefisa in their Atascadero barn

 

“Just walking 500 feet from my house to the barn was awful,” she said. “The pain would come and go. It seemed to get better with physical therapy, but then it would come back again. At 40, I had my daughter and that really threw off my pelvic alignment.”

 

 

 

Tips for Healthy Joints >>

Dr. Bradley and Cottage's Center for Orthopedics physicians >>

 

Tired of just living with the pain, in 2009, she finally decided to explore hip surgery. A friend recommended that she talk to Dr. Gary Bradley, an orthopedic surgeon in Santa Barbara.

 

A registered nurse for 30 years, Peggy was aware of the importance of finding a surgeon who performed hip surgeries frequently and specialized in the anterior approach. This technique allows the surgeon to access the hip from the front of the joint, keeping more muscle undisturbed and decreasing recovery time.

 

Her first visit to Dr. Bradley was in the spring of 2009, and they discussed several treatment options that would be suitable for her condition.

 

“Dr. Bradley was very personable and very caring. I never felt hurried, and he really listened to me,” Peggy recalled.

 

She followed Dr. Bradley’s recommendation that she first get an injection in her hip to help determine if the pain was being caused by the joint or her lower back, which was also bothering her. The treatment gave Peggy much welcome relief from her pain for a few months, so she knew the problem was definitely in her hip joint.

 

This sealed her decision to move forward with a hip replacement surgery.

 

“I was scared about having it,” she remembered, “but then I decided that quality of life really matters to me. I just didn’t want to live with this pain anymore or to deal with it temporarily with injections.”

 

Her surgery was a success. She spent just 48 hours in Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, and even got out of bed after the first night.

 

“Right after the surgery, I felt like I could have walked out of the hospital,” Peggy said. “By that first evening, I was standing up, and I had just minimal pain,” she added.

 

Within two months, Peggy was back in the saddle, enjoying what she loves to do. She spends nearly every day of the week riding her horse, Nefisa—a thoroughbred Arabian mare—in the hillsides of Atascadero and at horse shows.

 

“It was the first time in 30 years that I could ride or walk and not have my hip hurting,” she beamed. “I can do all the activities I used to do before but I have no pain now. Sometimes I even forget that I’ve had my hip replaced.”

 

BY MARIA ZATE  |  PHOTO BY GLENN DUBOCK 

 

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