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Triathlete Patty Lane at a race.

“Find a surgeon who’s an athlete”

It was Patty Lane’s second full IRONMAN: a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and full 26.2 mile marathon run. She and her son had completed their first full IRONMAN triathlon the year before without issue, but during their second, her hip started nagging at her.

Patty Lane's uniform
Patty started running in high school, then got hooked on triathlons in college.

“I thought it was just a hip flexor, a pulled muscle. So when the orthopedic person I went to at the time said ‘You have arthritis, it’s bone on bone,’ you could have knocked me over with a feather.”

That doctor told Patty that she’d be relegated to the sidelines. It was a huge blow for a woman who’d been a serious athlete since her teenage years—first running, then marathoning, then moving into triathlons.

“I was so depressed. I went home and hardly told anyone. But I called my son’s coach, and he said, ‘You’ve got to find a surgeon who’s an athlete, because they’ll know how badly you want to get out there.’ And that was the best advice ever.”

Patty’s search for a surgeon-athlete led her to Dr. Stephen Duncan, an orthopedic surgeon and a hip specialist in UK HealthCare’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine program. His approach to her condition “couldn’t have been more different.” The biggest change: Dr. Duncan knew that, for Patty, staying sidelined was never an option.

In order to get Patty back to the sport she loved, Dr. Duncan used a technology called dual mobility total hip arthroplasty. The procedure involved replacing Patty’s hip socket and the head of her femur with a titanium shell with a metal liner and a large polyethylene and ceramic head on a titanium stem with a special coating to help strengthen her femur. The advanced technology meant less pain and wear and tear during high-impact activities like running.

After six months of recovery, Patty was back to racing. In the time since, she’s competed in dozens of races, including the New York City Marathon, an ultra-marathon, and triathlons around the country and across the globe as part of Team USA Triathlon. She’s looking forward to continuing to compete for years to come.

“At some of these events, there are 80-year-olds on the podium. I’m sure if I called Dr. Duncan twenty years from now and said, ‘Hey, I need another one,’ he’d say ‘Okay. We’ll replace it.’ He was so encouraging—he just said, ‘Tell me what you want to do, and we’ll get you back out there.’”

Learn more about how we help patients like Patty get back on their feet at UK HealthCare’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Patty Lane's uniform
A world-class athlete, Patty has competed in events across the globe.