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“Not ‘if’ she will run again, but ‘when,"

By Admin | February 11, 2022

Her whole life, Erin Moran, now 22, had been an athlete, specifically, a runner. But in January of 2021, she feared she’d never be able to even walk again.

One morning, the Temple University junior woke up and realized her right leg was completely numb from the knee to her toes. “At first, I just thought my foot was asleep,” Erin said, describing the numbness and pins-and-needles she felt. “But it didn’t go away. I was tripping when I walked, I couldn’t even drive.”

The first physician she saw struggled to determine the cause of the numbness, and told Erin and her mother, Colleen Moran, that Erin may never walk normally again. “She’s always been active, so hearing that she may not walk again was heartbreaking,” said Colleen. “I watched her tear up as she heard the news, and I knew we would do anything we could to get her walking again.”

Erin was referred to Daniel Yoshor, MD, the chair of Neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who recommended Zarina Ali, MD, MS, FAANS, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery, and co-director of Penn’s Nerve Center. “Dr. Ali is one of very few physicians in the area who specializes in complex nerve issues,” said Yoshor. “If anyone could help this patient, it would be her.”

Ali, who specializes in both complex nerve and spine cases, evaluated Erin and diagnosed her with common peroneal neuropathy, also known as a “severe foot drop,” which caused her numbness and inability to extend her toes. She immediately recommended initiation of physical therapy, and if that provided no relief, surgery.

“What we loved about Dr. Ali right away was that she said ‘when’ Erin runs again, not ‘if’,” said Colleen. “It was such a shift from what we had previously heard, and we put all our trust in her.”

After a few months of physical therapy with no improvement, Erin and Ali agreed to...(More)

For more info please read, “Not ‘if’ she will run again, but ‘when,", by Penn Medicine News

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