A new way to walk after years of misplaced pain

May 15, 2022

After almost seven years of severe knee discomfort, Milton resident Dawn Ellis began seeking a serious solution for relief.

She pursued care for her painful dragging leg and found physical therapy that kept the pain at bay. However, it wasn’t resolving the issue, and over time, PT no longer helped. As her discomfort persisted and her symptoms grew more unmanageable, Ellis finally hit a breaking point.

In summer 2021, she was walking off the beach when her leg completely gave out. Shortly after that, she pulled out her insurance card and started scheduling appointments, determined to find a workable solution.

After inconclusive knee MRIs and cortisone shots that didn’t alleviate the pain, it was finally discovered that the pain was caused by a bad hip joint. Ellis was told she would need surgery and began researching approaches to hip replacement, ultimately coming to Bayhealth orthopedic surgeon Trinity O. Pilkington, MD.

Ellis felt Pilkington’s excitement about a different procedure, an anterior approach to hip replacement. Pilkington uses a natural division between muscles, so there is no need to cut, split or detach them. Classic post-operative hip precautions are unnecessary. Patients are typically walking unassisted, without a limp or much pain, by two weeks after the procedure.

“Ellis suffered from advanced degenerative arthritis of the hip and maximized all conservative treatments,” Pilkington said. “She was in extreme pain, and it compromised her lifestyle. She was an ideal candidate for a total hip replacement.”

Not once did Ellis feel pressured to get this specific approach, rather, she was treated like a partner in her healthcare decision. She was informed on both types of procedures and given ample time to think about her choice. As a regional healthcare leader, Bayhealth offers anterior hip replacement, total knee replacement and partial knee replacement surgery on an outpatient basis at both Kent and Sussex campuses.

“I am very grateful for Dr. Pilkington to have treated me the way that he did,” Ellis said. He answered all her questions and helped her feel at ease on surgery day. Ultimately, Ellis opted for the surgery with the quicker recovery and trusted Pilkington’s confidence. She was ready to get her life back.

“Everyone at Bayhealth was extraordinary – I feel like they wouldn’t have treated their mother any better than they treated me the entire time,” she said. “The entire experience was first-class and overall, a seamless operation.”

Today, Ellis is almost six months out from surgery. Her recovery has been relatively brief, all things considered. “I was up and walking the day after surgery – it was incredible!” she said. “I occasionally had a little pain, but I can call anytime I have a question.” Her life is radically changed, and she credits both Dr. Pilkington and the Bayhealth staff.

To learn more, go to To find an orthopaedic surgeon, call 1-866-BAY-DOCS.

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