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Downers Grove teacher back to her active ways

Published: Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 1:58 p.m. CDT

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DOWNERS GROVE – When Gail Pistello got her new hip last year, she regained more than just her active lifestyle.

A lifelong athlete, the Herrick Middle School gym teacher and volleyball coach had been unable to bike, golf and do the other things she had enjoyed for years when her hip started causing trouble in her late 40s.

“I didn’t realize until afterward, but my demeanor did change,” she said, describing the year before the surgery. “You could probably ask some of my students I had that year. They didn’t know what was going on. I was in so much pain and I wasn’t sleeping, so everything changes.”

More than a half-million adults each year are sidelined by chronic hip pain. Pistello will be a featured speaker at an event hosted by Midwest Orthopedics at Rush Hospital to provide information to adults suffering from hip and knee pain. The informational event is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bolingbrook Golf Club, 2001 Rodeo Drive, Bolingbrook.

Pistello thinks her hip problems began when she started running to train for her first triathlon in 2007. The joint pounding caused by running on pavement was harder on her hips than her traditional exercises like biking, and by 2009, the pain became excruciating.

Only 48 at the time, doctors told her she was too young for a hip replacement.

She fought through by using cortisone shots to fight the pain, but when she turned 50, it reached the point where she could no longer work out, and coaching boys volleyball at the school was especially painful.

“It was awful,” she said. “It was kind of changing the way I was living my life. Then someone told me about Dr. [Scott] Sporer.”

In March 2012, Sporer replaced her hip, and she was out of the hospital in two days.

After a year of resting the new hip, and then rehabilitating it with Steve Mologousis at Functional Athlete in Countryside, she is back to her old self, she said.

“It’s changed my life,” she said.

Pistello’s new hip is also equipped with radiosterometric analysis technology. It allows X-rays to be taken from different angles creating a three-dimensional image.

Using tiny metal beads as markers around the implant, RSA technology helps physicians determine a hip and knee patient’s progress, or whether the implant is wearing out or moving.

It also provides research for future implant design and technology, according to Midwest Orthopaedics’ spokesperson. It also provides insight into the safest and most durable materials for implants.

Dr. Sporer and Dr. Wayne Paprosky, at Midwest Orthopaedics, are the first in the country to implant all compliant patients with the RSA beads.

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