Teagan’s triumphant return: Dancing after Perthes disease

Teagan has lived and breathed dance – ballet, jazz, tap, and more – since she was 5 years old. “That’s what makes me happy,” says the 12-year-old. But two years ago, she began to feel pain in her hip that persisted after dance classes and worsened with time. As her spring dance season ended with four shows in two days, Teagan finished the final show with her pain at her worst.

But as his injury did not seem to be anything other than a minor muscle pull, his mother Jeannine had asked Teagan to pack down during the summer, hoping that the rest would help relieve the pain. When dance classes resumed in September, her dance teacher noticed that Teagan did not have the flexibility to do the movements that she could normally do. She recommended that Jeannine take her daughter to Boston Children.

A diagnosis of Perthes disease

“We came to Boston Children in September,” recalls Jeannine. “They did an X-ray and immediately sent us to Dr. Shore.” Dr. Benjamin Shore An Orthopedic Surgeon From The Boston Children’s Hip Preservation Program For Children And Young Adults Diagnosed Teagan With Disease Legg-Calvé -Perthes .

Also known as Perthes Disease, this is an ailment where the blood supply of the femoral ball-shaped head becomes temporarily disrupted, resulting in an increased blood pressure. collapse of the femoral head and causing pain and inflammation in the hip joint. Eventually, the blood supply returns and the bone heals, but the shape of the femoral head is no longer normal, so it can not move gently in the hip cavity and can limit the flexibility.

“What’s difficult in Perthes disease is that the treatment is different for each child, it’s not a cookie cutter approach,” says Dr. Shore. “With younger patients, we are exploring conservative methods of treatment, but because Teagan was older, we were worried that her prognosis might be worse, and we quickly opted for surgical options to give her the best chance of being cured. and to prevent deformities of the hip. ”

Hip Surgery and Recovery

Teagan underwent arthrography and femoral osteotomy – two surgeries that would help contain her hip and prevent deformity. The recovery required him to spend months without dancing. “For a little girl who dances up to 15 hours a week, being removed from her legs was a bit overwhelming for her,” says Jeannine.

It made her feel better knowing that people were always there, ready to help and take care of her “

Treatment of Perthes requires a significant reduction in activity to limit the damage to the hip. Dancing being such an important part of her life, it was hard for Teagan to hear that she should be on crutches and then wheelchair for months. The recovery seemed so far away.

Her mother and her doctor remember how difficult it was for Teagan to know these limits. “It often seems like it’s the kids who are very active who tend to have Perthes,” says Dr. Shore. “It may be a big challenge for these kids to limit their activity.But I promised Teagan that she could come back to the things she wanted to do, we had to first give following this plan. ”

“As strict as his plan was, he was still trying to give him some light at the end of the tunnel,” recalls Jeannine. “It made everything a little better.”

Back on the dance floor

Despite her temporary limitations, Teagan always went to the dance class every day. She was taking notes looking at her classmates doing what she liked, but she was unable to do it herself. For every new challenge that her treatment brought, whether it was crutches before surgery or being in a wheelchair, Teagan was facing it head-on. “It was scary at first,” says Teagan. “But once I got used to that, I was rather surprised, because it was not so bad.”

<img class=”wp-image-33828 size-full alignleft” src=”https://mdthinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/teagans-triumphant-return-dancing-after-perthes-disease.jpg” alt=” Ballet Teagan Keefe poses “width =” 427 “height =” 644 “/>

Although she initially felt embarrassed about going to school in a wheelchair, Teagan quickly realized that her friends were happy to help her with everything. what she needed. “It made it feel better to know that people were always there, ready to help and take care of her,” says Jeannine.

Teagan had her second operation in February to remove the material from the first intervention. A few weeks later, she made her triumphant return to the dance floor and participated in her first competition at the end of February.

With a full dance season in front of her, Teagan was back to feeling like herself.

His resilience and dedication to dance were not a surprise to his mother, but certainly left an impact on Dr. Shore. “She never complained and always had a smile on her face,” he laughs. “She was just very stoic, especially for someone of her age – it was really amazing, I was so impressed by her.”

With her treatment and recovery now in retrospect, Teagan can fully focus her energy on dance. But when she remembers her operation and her long recovery, she knows exactly what she would say to herself: “Do not be afraid!”

Learn more about Boston’s Hip Preservation Program for Children and Young Adults


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