Amber DeLap: 5 Doctors, 3 Years, 1 Life-Changing Diagnosis
Five doctors over three years – that is what it took for 17-year-old Amber DeLap of DeKalb, Illinois to finally get a diagnosis for the ongoing pain in her hip.
For three years, Amber faced continuous hip pain. Amber described the pain regularly at a five, but it could often reach an eight on a scale of one to 10. She took breaks frequently, and it reached a point where Amber could not do any leg lifting workouts and went about daily life with a slight limp in her walk.
As an active teenager and dedicated student athlete, this simply would not do.
Wanting to get back to the top of her game, Amber proactively sought out medical advice for her hip pain. She saw a chiropractor, two sports injury specialists and a physical therapist, all to no avail. Finally, when Amber collapsed during basketball practice, her school’s athletic trainer shared a life-changing recommendation: Dr. Domb at American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists.
From there the process was quick and efficient, a significant change from the dead ends Amber had encountered over the last three years.
“After my first appointment with Dr. Domb, he had a guess about what could be causing my hip pain,” said Amber. “He sent me to get an MRI and, within a week, he identified the correct diagnosis and my surgery was booked.”
Amber presented with a labral tear, femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (a condition in which the hip joint is abnormal, causing bones to painfully rub together), internal snapping hip, and microinstability.
Her surgery, an arthroscopic labral repair, went well. The next day, Amber did not feel any pain, which continued the weeks following. By week six, she was off crutches. The only time she experienced any pain was the day she was finally able to go without her hip brace – a typical occurrence in recovery.
After five doctors and three years of continuous hip pain, Amber can finally say she knows why she was hurting – and knowledge is power.
“I will return to sports,” said Amber. “Now, I try to listen more closely to my body and not overdo it. I waited so long for someone to find what was bothering my hip. This experience allowed me to learn to ask for help when I need it.”
She is now on her way to recovery, which will take eight months to a year, so she can get back on the basketball court without hip pain getting in her way.
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- Amber DeLap