Never Give Up: Christina McNamara Schmidt’s Journey

For any normal person, hamstring pain can be an incredibly debilitating, limiting, and frustrating condition to cope with. But Christina McNamara Schmidt is no ordinary person. This mother of three is also a competitive All American Triathlete, taking to the water and covering mile after mile on her bike and in her running shoes, pushing her body to amazing levels.

So, when persistent high hamstring pain struck in 2015, the condition hobbled her in incredibly impactful ways. In an attempt to find a solution that would quickly get her back to the sport she loved, Christina opted for a conservative surgical repair. Instead of a successful outcome enabling her to get back to racing, she wound up with a rare infection and severe pain that almost put an end to her athletic career.

But a triathlete never gives up, and thankfully, she met an orthopedic surgeon who doesn’t either. Struan Coleman, MD, PhD, has devoted his career to helping his athletic patients in the New York metropolitan area and beyond continue to chase their dreams -- whether they’re on the playing field, on the links, or running down the road.

An anatomical background

Whether or not you actively pursue a sport, any issue with your hamstring can have a severe impact on your mobility because of its role in helping you straighten your legs and bend at your knees. Your hamstring isn’t one muscle, but three that run down the backs of your thighs from your pelvis, across your knees, and down to your lower legs.

A crucial component in your hamstring are the tendons that anchor the three muscles to your bones.

Hamstring injuries can develop acutely or progressively and typically come in the form of strains and tears. Severe injuries can lead to a complete separation of the tendon that attaches the hamstring to your bones, which is called an avulsion, and usually requires surgical intervention.

Christina’s journey

After having surgery with a different orthopedic practice to address her high hamstring pain, Christina continued to experience post-operative pain long after what is considered normal. Frustrated, she sought help from other highly-respected orthopedic institutions, only to be told that to remedy her post-op pain, her surgery would have to be dismantled and not revised.

In effect, Christina’s situation was worse than when she started.

Then she found Dr. Coleman. After a thorough review of her problems and using every diagnostic tool available, Dr. Coleman zeroed in on the problem: a rare orthopedic infection from her previous hamstring repair. On top of that, Dr. Coleman was also able to clearly identify the source of her original pain, which was an esoteric presentation of hip impingement that contributed to her persistent hamstring issues.

Rather than starting Christina over, Dr. Coleman pulled together a team of specialists, including Dr. Andy Miller with infectious disease, and Drs. Daniel Osei and Andrew Weiland, who tackled scarring around her sciatic nerve, which was behind much of Christina’s pain.

Together, this team cleaned out Christina’s infection and removed the metallic anchors to allow her body time to heal, all while protecting the integrity of Christina’s hamstring tendons, with the goal of allowing her to continue to pursue her athletic dreams.

Knowing that patience would serve her well, Christina gave her body time to rebuild and regenerate after the infection ravaged some of her soft tissue, but her patience is paying off.

Slowly, but surely, Christina is healing the right way, under the watchful eye of Dr. Coleman, knowing that her hamstrings will once again propel her through the water, on her bike, and during her marathon runs.

Christina’s story is but one in a long line of athletes who have benefitted from Dr. Coleman’s experience, training, and diligence. When it comes to sports-related injuries, Dr. Coleman treats every athlete individually and works with his patients to overcome even the most challenging orthopedic issues.

To learn more, please call Dr. Coleman’s office, or use the online scheduling tool on this website to request a consultation.

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