|Lorraine Kingham, Physiotherapist at BritPT
Labral tear patient
"Dr. Hilts is an excellent diagnostician and a truly compassionate man."
Lorraine Kingham, a physiotherapist who owns BritPT in Greensboro, has referred clients who need an orthopedic evaluation to Michael Hilts, MD, at Piedmont Orthopedics for years.
"Mike Hilts is my first choice as a doctor for a client with musculoskeletal challenges that are not being resolved with conservative measures," she says. "He is remarkable in his ability to listen to people, to really listen. They all come back and say they felt like they were the only patient on his schedule that afternoon."
So, in early 2013, when Lorraine felt a sharp pain in her left hip and then had trouble bearing weight while training for a 10K race, she had no question where she wanted to go for a medical opinion. After trying conservative measures on her own using her expertise as a physiotherapist (the British equivalent of physical therapist), she made an appointment with Dr. Hilts.
He used a musculoskeletal ultrasound machine to image her hip during the office visit. This device is a less costly alternative to MRI that can be used in the examination room to detect problems in muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissue. (See patient education story here.) Dr. Hilts was the first doctor in North Carolina to receive credentialing in musculoskeletal ultrasound from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a very attractive diagnostic alternative for patients, Lorraine says, because it can be done quickly in the office rather than requiring a wait for an MRI and can be done "at a fraction of the cost of an MRI." The musculoskeletal ultrasound examination showed a labral tear in Lorraine’s hip, in addition to bone spurs that were contributing to the problem. She's glad she found the cause of the injury quickly so she did not continue pushing her body and exacerbating the injury. She notes that a recent article she read while researching her injury pegged the average amount of time it takes to find and diagnose a labral tear at two years from the time of injury.
"I got my diagnosis in two weeks," she says. "I am so grateful because I could have done more damage if I had kept running. Knowledge is power. I was able to make really good decisions."
In addition to providing a fast diagnosis, Dr. Hilts also prescribed an initial treatment plan to reduce her pain and prevent further injury to the area.
"Dr. Hilts is an excellent diagnostician and a truly compassionate man," Lorraine says. "You don't get those two qualities together very often. I trust him completely."