At 17, Jaclyn Barszcowski ran her first marathon. Soon, she had completed 10 marathons. But three years ago, she suffered a hip injury that ground her passion for running to a halt.
“During an 13-mile training run, I felt this little tug in my right hip. I just figured it was due to overuse and tried to push through the pain,” says Jaclyn.
Jaclyn's hip injury, combined with her athlete’s determination to continue running long distances, made her a perfect fit for the Penn Center for the Female Athlete at Penn Medicine -- the only multidisciplinary program of its kind in the region.
"Within a few months of beginning my residency, my leg began to buckle underneath me," she says. "Being on my feet for long hours at work was excruciating, and sadly, running wasn’t even an option."
She learned of a doctor who was known for her remarkable work with female athletes: Kate Temme, MD, CAQSM, co-director of Penn Center for the Female Athlete.
“My first impression of Jaclyn was that she’s a very motivated athlete. Running is her happy place, so Jaclyn’s injury sidelined her in many ways, impacting her physically and challenging her emotionally,” says Dr. Temme.
After a thorough physical exam and in-depth discussion with Jaclyn regarding her goals, Dr. Temme ordered an M-arthrogram, a specialized MRI using injected dye to help identify more specific problems."
"The news for Jaclyn was not good: She had a labral tear," she says. "Together, we agreed to exhaust all the conservative, non-operative options before considering surgery."
Over the next six months, Jaclyn worked diligently with a Penn Medicine physical therapist who was a running specialist with a focus on hip disorders. Physical therapy helped her regain a lot of core strength, but the pain was still intolerable. If she was ever going to enjoy the thrill of distance running again, she needed to have her hip surgically repaired.
Dr. Temme referred Jaclyn to Atul Kamath, MD, Director of Hip Preservation at Penn Medicine. The two doctors have worked together closely for years, using a total-body approach to heal female athletes with hip injuries.
"Dr. Temme and I really do work in harmony to understand the nuances of each patient’s hip injury," Dr. Kamath says. "And Jaclyn was an incredibly unique patient. As a physician in training, she understood the challenges of surgery and the time-consuming rehabilitation process. But, as an athlete, she was totally committed to getting back to the high-intensity of the sport she loved.”
Everyone agreed Jaclyn was a great candidate for hip arthroscopy, with an excellent prognosis for a full recovery with the ultimate goal of getting her back in marathon-running condition. In July 2016, Dr. Kamath performed minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery on Jaclyn’s hip.
"I came through the surgery with flying colors and went home the same day." Jaclyn says. "My hip felt more stable to me almost immediately, and the pain was completely gone. I couldn’t wait to get back to the life I love -- a life in motion.”
Today, Jaclyn has been cleared to walk as much as she wants. She continues to work hard in her physical therapy sessions and expects to be running again soon.