Taking Care of Our Weekend Warriors: Jonnie’s Story

Jonnie 300From the people to the food to the landscapes, living in the Pacific Northwest is truly unique. And having the chance to enjoy the great outdoors 365 days a year is one of the biggest advantages to calling this place home. Whether you’re a runner, biker, skier, sailor or hiker, there are countless opportunities to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

But what happens when aches, pains and injuries keep you from doing the activities you love? That’s when it’s time to seek out expert orthopedic advice from your local Franciscan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine team.

Puyallup resident, Jonnie Barr, 56, did just that. About four years ago, the former college football player developed pain in his hip that started to affect every aspect of his life. “I walk four to eight miles a day, do yoga and spin class, but I couldn’t get the pain to go away,” he said. Barr also runs Puyallup Basketball Academy, which means his job requires him to be active every day. “With the pain, I couldn’t run or play basketball anymore,” he said. “A few times I’d go to high school basketball games and my leg would give out on me.” Finally, in 2013, when Barr set out for a walk and couldn’t make it one mile, he knew he had to do something about the pain as he limped home.

Offering orthopedic options

Barr met with Joshua Johnston, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Franciscan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Associates at St. Clare. “I specialize in sports medicine and reconstructive surgery,” said Dr. Johnston. “This includes everything from acute injuries like ligament tears and rotator cuff injuries, to overuse injuries and degenerative issues like arthritis.”

Whenever possible, Dr. Johnston uses an arthroscopic surgical technique for reconstructions and repairs. “With arthroscopic surgery, we make a few small incisions instead of larger ones that cut deeply through the muscles,” he said. The result is often decreased pain, shorter healing time and quicker return to activity.

Getting back to what matters most

Dr. Johnston examined Barr’s x-ray and explained that he had severe arthritis in his hip. Nearly all of the cartilage had worn away and the ball of his socket had recessed into his pelvis, causing the excruciating pain he experienced. Dr. Johnston explained that Barr would need a hip replacement.

In May 2013, Dr. Johnston performed Barr’s hip replacement surgery at St. Clare Hospital. He used an anterior approach for performing the procedure and is one of the few surgeons in the South Sound specializing in anterior approach total hip replacement surgery. This minimally invasive technique allows the surgeon to reach the hip joint without cutting through the muscles near the pelvis or femur during surgery, reducing pain and recovery time.

Barr was able to stand the very next morning and walked out of the hospital when he was discharged that day. A few weeks later, he was able to walk two miles with his wife following behind in the car. Gradually, Barr increased his strength and activity and is back to taking yoga classes twice a week and walking eight miles a day without any pain.

Great decision

“Having my hip replaced is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself healthwise,” said Barr. “I was worried about having the surgery, but Dr. Johnston helped put all of my fears to rest, explained what he was going to do and answered all of my questions. I don’t think I could have found a better doctor to do it or a better place to have it done.”