Joint Replacement Surgery Gave Patient Back Her Quality of Life

March 5, 2024

Melissa Durham standing outside Manatee Physician AllianceAt first, Melissa Durham thought she had pulled a muscle. She started taking ibuprofen to ease the pain. Months passed and she went from taking two a day to four twice a day, and it wasn’t getting better.

“I was told by my primary care physician that it was from my long commute to work, so I started working from home a few days a week,” says Durham, 48, of Ruskin. “After doing that for five months with no change, I figured I must have really hurt myself, so I started going to a chiropractor who told me it was sciatica and that I needed to stretch and work it out. I started going to a stretch facility to see if that would get the issue corrected, but after a month, it was only getting worse. I was at my breaking point by now. I was only 47, but I was walking like I was 90.”

A consult changed everything

Tired of feeling badly, Durham was referred to David Rubins, MD, BSME, FAAOS, an orthopedic surgeon at Manatee Memorial Hospital. Dr. Rubins has a special certification in adult reconstructive surgery, focusing on hip, knee and shoulder replacements.

During the consultation, an X-ray revealed Durham’s hip joint was bone-on-bone and full of fluid. Dr. Rubins tried a steroid injection to reduce inflammation in the joint. That relieved pain for only about five days, and it was decided that hip replacement surgery would be the best option.

Successful surgery and rehab

Last spring, Durham underwent a direct anterior hip replacement. After waking from surgery, she was so scared that it had not worked that she didn’t even want to get up. “Once I put my feet on the floor and stood up, I started crying because there was no pain at all on either side,” she says. “I started walking with a walker at first, but, to be honest, I really didn’t need it. I felt like I was 16 again and had no pain whatsoever. I was so happy that I just cried!”

Durham began rehabilitation the same day as surgery, and received home care, including nurse visits and therapy, for three weeks.

A recommendation

Durham cannot say enough good things about Dr. Rubins and the hospital staff. “I wish I could give a big hug to all the staff that took care of me during that time,” she says. “From the staff at Manatee Orthopedics, including Dr. Rubins, Joy and Sherrie, to the staff at the hospital, from admissions, pre-op, post-op, anesthesia, PT, and the nurses on the ortho floor, everyone was so caring and took the time to make sure I was comfortable and understood everything that was going on.”

To this day, Durham cannot believe how well the surgery went and how the pain was gone when she woke up. “Dr. Rubins had given me my life back,” she says. “I don’t know what I would have done had it not been for him taking the chance on a hip replacement for someone my age.”