For 50 long years, Joe Sowder didn’t know what life was like without pain. It all started when Joe was already dealing with a bone disease and he suffered a farm accident at the same time. The bone disease and the accident caused Joe’s bones to shift in his left hip. Overtime, this caused his left leg to become shorter than his right leg.
“Growing up I couldn’t play sports and as I got older my limp got worse and my shoe lift got higher,” said Joe.
Not only was Joe dealing with pain he was also losing range of motion in his left hip. Something as simple as putting on his own left sock and shoe sent pain radiating throughout Joe’s body. On a good day, Joe described his pain as an eight out of a ten-point scale.
Furthermore, Joe was spending a lot of extra money on custom shoes. If he bought a new pair of sandals for $40 he knew he would need to spend an extra $100 to add the lift to the left sandal. Over the years, money started adding up.
Joe knew he needed a solution to the pain. He found himself at OrthoIndy in an appointment with Dr. Frank Kolisek, total hip and knee specialist.
The diagnosis-total hip replacement surgery
Dr. Kolisek determined that Joe would need his left hip replaced.
“I told Joe that there was nothing more we could do for his arthritic hip that didn’t involve surgery,” said Dr. Kolisek. “I explained hip replacement surgery to him and that I do a muscle sparing approach called the direct superior approach. I also explained to him that I could lengthen his leg so that he can get rid of the lift on his shoe and he could return to work doing his usual job without restrictions.”
It was time for Joe to make a decision.
“Dr. Kolisek said two things that convinced me to move forward and have him do this surgery. One, I needed to look myself in the mirror and believe I was worth doing this to improve my quality of life,” said Joe. “Two, to show him that I was ready for my life to change I needed to lower my BMI by 20 pounds. I took off the 20 pounds in four weeks and made the call to Dr. Kolisek’s office to schedule my surgery two weeks later.”
Joe had surgery in November 2016. Dr. Kolisek was able to lengthen Joe’s leg by almost 1 inch by replacing his left hip joint.
Joe’s surgery took about 15 minutes longer than a normal joint replacement surgery because of the complexity of his case.
“I had to remove extensive osteophytes from his hip socket, which is basically an overgrowth of bone. The overgrowth develops when the body tries to stop hip movement so it will not cause as much pain,” said Dr. Kolisek. “This is the body’s normal response to a painful arthritic hip.”
Dr. Kolisek restored Joe’s center of rotation of his hip joint, bringing the hip joint down to where it should be anatomically. This also allowed Dr. Kolisek to lengthen his leg. After surgery, Joe’s muscles were able to return to a more normal position, which will improve function.
Hip replacement recovery
“I feel so blessed to have the new hip joint and then to have the leg length increased is a double blessing,” said Joe. “Now when I buy new shoes I can wear them out of the store because I don’t need the lift added.”
Along with the ability to wear normal shoes, Joe is also able to walk without pain. He enjoys spending time with his church family and being active with his wife of almost 44 years, his five children and his 11 grandchildren.
“I’m so glad I met and talked surgery over with Dr. Kolisek,” said Joe. “When Dr. Kolisek spent about 45 minutes with me in our first meeting it really made me feel I was worth doing this for. To get back the quality of life I’m having now is amazing. I know as I continue to heal and get stronger my quality of life will only get better.”
Dr. Kolisek is confident Joe will continue to feel the benefits of undergoing surgery.
“Joe is very dedicated and worked hard,” said Dr. Kolisek. “It is people like him that make it so rewarding to be a joint replacement surgeon. Giving someone their life back, as he told me in the office, is very, very gratifying.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kolisek, please call 317.884.5160 or learn more about joint replacement surgery at OrthoIndy.