November 24, 2021

Mark Williams, like many, thought the hip pain he was dealing with was something he would have to endure. He had no idea his pain was the result of a birth defect he had been living with his whole life. Williams would learn just how much life he could get back after a hip replacement. 


Pain of Limitation

As the employee of a power company, Williams worked as a groundman for years, working in capacities that his hip would allow. Duties like driving trucks aggravated his hip less, but he still had to miss work occasionally because he was unable to walk. The severe pain and limp caused by his hip was impacting his life all around. He remembers not even being able to play ball with his kids, missing out on experiences fathers love. Through the pain, he continued to go to church routinely, where his pastor noticed the progression of Williams’ extreme discomfort. His pastor enthusiastically recommended Ryan Nunley, MD, hip and knee surgeon with Washington University Orthopedics, after having a fantastic outcome in his own hip replacement. 


Learning Why It Hurts

After the recommendation from his pastor, Williams made an appointment with Dr. Nunley and what he learned was shocking: he had been living with a birth defect that impacted his hip function. Williams had always assumed his injury was a result of previous traumatic accident. Williams was shown his X-rays at his visit, comparing his left hip to his right. “It was completely and utterly disfigured,” Williams said. “It was trashed like a flat tire!” Imaging had revealed degenerative osteoarthritis of the hip and the intense need for a hip replacement; so much so that Dr. Nunley was surprised Williams was even walking. Surgery was scheduled soon after. 


New Hip, New Mark

Williams’ hip replacement surgery was instantly a success, “I could tell as soon as I started walking the great difference. There’s no pain anymore, it’s amazing!” Limp-free and pain-free, Williams was able to get back to the things that meant so much to him.  His quality of life improved drastically. “Since surgery, I have been able to do so much I couldn’t before, like play ball with my kids.”


Not only is he playing ball with his kids, he’s coaching their teams and playing on a softball team of his own. When Williams returned to work a few weeks after surgery, he wasn’t just returning to his former roles as a groundman or truck driver...he was now climbing trees himself. “When I started climbing, I had my coworkers snap some pictures so everyone, especially my wife, could see the full transformation.” 


Note from Nunley

Dr. Nunley remarked Williams is doing exceptionally well and acknowledges his impressive return to a highly physically demanding job. “Living with pain is miserable and affects all parts of a patient’s life, from normal activities to sleeping, working, sports, and hobbies. After a total hip replacement, most patients report that it was the best decision of their life and they are able to return to a normal lifestyle. Getting patients out of pain and back to enjoying life is the most satisfying part of my day,” explains Dr. Nunley. 


WashU Ortho surgeons are sought by patients like Williams not only for their techniques in the operating room and highly-successful outcomes, but also because of the attentive and compassionate care patients receive.


“I never thought I would feel this good ever again. I really thought I would have to live the rest of my life in pain with a limp.” Williams reflected.


Washington University Orthopedics is highly trusted for joint care and replacements. To make an appointment with one of our specialists, call (314)-514-3500.


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