Believing in a Way Back: Dana’s Return to an Active Life

When you’re a busy mother of two young boys, the last thing you need is pain slowing you down. That is how Dana, a Geobase Imagery Manager at Langley Air Force Base, felt. With commitments to her family, her job and her personal wellness, the pain had to go.

“I’ve always been active and played sports through high school and college,” explains Dana. She wakes up at 4:00 a.m. to run daily and works at a standing desk.

Dana developed a love for running and had begun training for races when she began experiencing pain in her foot. After the birth of her second son, the pain in her foot began to worsen. However, at only 35 years old, Dana felt as if she were too young to need surgery.

Her doctor, at the time, started treating the pain with cortisone injections. Although they provided some relief, Dana was limping around and struggling with pain for another year and a half before she met Dr. Brendan McConnell.

“Dana tried appropriate conservative methods first; but because nothing was providing significant relief, surgery was a consideration,” Dr. McConnell explains.

As an active person, Dana wanted to find a doctor who would understand her desire to get back to running and doing the things she loves. “My appointment with Dr. McConnell was eye-opening,” Dana states appreciatively. “He looked at the whole picture to pinpoint the issue with my foot.”

“Dana’s pain was the result of excess foot flexibility and instability that started when she was very young,” Dr. McConnell explains. “Dana is flat-footed, and this alignment leads to instability and causes stress to ligaments, tendon, and joints. Eventually, the toll of this condition became more and more painful and frustrating.”

Dana decided the surgery was right for her because she wanted to be an active mom. “I didn’t want to just watch my kids play, I wanted to get up and play with them,” she says.

In deciding to undergo surgery, Dana appreciated Dr. McConnell’s advice and encouraging attitude. “He told me, ‘We are going to fix you up. We are going to get this foot better than it ever was!’” Dana says. “Just to hear that really meant a lot!”

After the procedure, Dana made sure to follow all her doctor’s instructions and completed her prescribed rehabilitation exercises. She truly made the best of the recovery time after the surgery, even taking her kids on a trip to Mount Vernon not long after the procedure. “I had to use a knee scooter for my leg, but my kids thought it was the coolest thing ever. We zoomed all over that place!”

Eleven months later, Dana was able to resume running. Now, she is training for her first full marathon. Dr. McConnell is proud of Dana for her tremendous success, noting, “She helped herself have those amazing results!” Dana also appreciates smaller victories.
“The coolest thing is walking barefoot in the sand,” she concludes.