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Even Surgery Couldn’t Hold Back This Record Breaker


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April 27, 2023

“I strongly advise you to make UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine your first choice. I could not have set the American record without them. My hip can take whatever I give it with no pain and my range in motion has improved.”

Born to run

Frank Gioia is an admitted overachiever. In addition to being a devoted husband, father and grandfather, he’s also a competitive runner. Frank started running in high school and participated on the track team as well as cross country and indoor track all 4 years. Aside from a short break to prioritize his career many years ago, he’s been running ever since.

But if there’s one constant in life it’s that time moves on and your body changes as a result. So, even though Frank had no intention of slowing down, his body told him otherwise.

Time takes its toll

In the summer of 2020, Frank developed hip pain, forcing him to slow down a bit. Even though he was determined to push through, the discomfort persisted and, in August 2020, the pain made Frank stop running completely.

On the advice of a family friend, Frank went to UBMD Orthopedics and Sports Medicine where he started his journey of breaking records after surgery with the expertise of Dr. Keely Boyle.

A consultation with Dr. Boyle revealed that Frank’s hip pain was due to a complete loss of cartilage in his hip which was now bone on bone with significant arthritis.

Dr. Boyle, who specializes in lower extremity joint replacement and reconstruction, discussed options with Frank. However, Dr. Boyle felt that one of those options, in particular, may be the best for Frank because of his highly active lifestyle and desire to keep running: the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR).

Following the doctor’s orders

Hip resurfacing surgery involves reshaping the femoral head, shaving off the arthritis and putting a metal cap over it instead of fully removing the femoral head bone. This surgery also involves replacing the socket in the pelvis with a metal cup. Both the cap on the femoral head and socket are made out of the same metal. This type of surgery can offer the ability to maintain the hip’s natural biomechanics as much as possible.

“There are certain aspects of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing that are thought to lead to its high performance and great results. The type of metal is a high-carbide containing cobalt-chromium alloy with the carbides helping to reduce the wear of the metal. The BHR has a highly textured backside surface of the cup and anti-rotational tabs lending to stability. There is also a relatively high diametrical clearance between the head and cup, allowing a fluid layer to build which may give superior wear properties,” according to Dr. Boyle.

This procedure originated in England with the first BHR surgery occurring in 1997. Hip resurfacing procedures are not as commonly performed as total hip replacements and there are only a few surgeons who perform this surgery. Dr. Boyle trained under one of the most renowned high-volume hip resurfacing surgeons, Dr. Edwin Su, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

The ideal candidate for hip resurfacing is a very active male that will be performing a high level of repetitive activity, such as running. Performing this surgery on females has fallen out of favor as data has suggested females tend to react to the metal ions more commonly than males.

“My patients receiving the hip resurfacing procedure are incredible individuals. They are highly active positive people, dedicated to their physical therapy, and are determined to return to the activities in which they enjoy most. That is just great to see,” said Dr. Boyle.

You can’t keep a runner down

The day after his surgery, Frank started his home rehabilitation, but already had his next run on his mind.  At the two-week mark, he began outpatient Physical Therapy under the guidance and care of Peter Tonsoline, Director of Physical Therapy at both the Amherst and Depew/Lancaster locations.  The rehabilitation was divided into three general phases that consisted of recovery of mobility and muscle activation, restoration of strength and stability, and return to sport specific training; but the phases were individualized based on Frank’s clinical presentation and goals.  By week four, Frank was riding a stationary bike and walking.  By six months, he returned to jogging.

“He informed me on his very first day that his goal was to not only return to running but to break the Indoor 4x800m relay American record for his age group (65-69),” Tonsoline recalled.

At age 67, as part of a 4-man team known as the “Genesee Valley Harriers,” Frank helped shatter the men’s 4x800m relay American record, competing at the USA National Masters Indoor Championship in the 65-69 age group with a time of 12:30.38.

Frank said, “It’s amazing that I feel as good as I do. I never thought I’d be running with such intensity after the surgery, but Dr. Boyle proved me wrong.” Frank remarked. He is confident that he will run into his seventies at a national level with no hip pain – something that in the summer of 2020 felt out of reach.

“A tremendous amount of credit should be given to Dr. Boyle and her expertise with such an innovative procedure that affords athletes like Frank a chance to return to their sport,” Tonsoline said. “She is a compassionate surgeon who is engaged with the patient throughout their rehabilitation and she appreciates the value and benefit of physical therapy along the way. And, of course, a tremendous amount of credit goes to Frank for his hard work and determination to not only compete again at such a high level but to shatter a record along the way.”

Take it from Frank…

When asked what advice Frank had for others dealing with a sports-related injury, he said “I strongly advise you to make UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine your first choice. I could not have set the American record without them. My hip can take whatever I give it with no pain and my range of motion has improved. It might even be better than my original hip.”

So, even though time will continue to move along, you can pretty much guarantee that Frank will be moving right along with it, thanks to Dr. Boyle and everyone at UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.