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Larry’s story: ‘2-for-1’ surgeries relieve joint pain

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Larry Foss is no stranger to arthritis and joint pain.

In 2015, Foss had his right hip replaced. He recovered after about 12 weeks.

Five years later, Foss retired and decided to move to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“We had moved up to the Upper Peninsula here and bringing all sorts of material out of our basement in our old house and moving into our new house up and down stairs, my knee just hurt like heck,” says Foss, who is in his 60s.

That came on top of a recurrence of hip pain. Foss’s left hip started acting up as he wound down a 30-year career as a pilot for the Kohler Co.

Having had that hip surgery in 2015, Foss knew what he was in for.

“Being a pilot really did a number on my joints,” Foss says. “All that sitting is not good for anyone and I tried to do as much moving as I could when I was not working.”

All that sitting was just one factor.

“Age and arthritis were also a factor in my joints getting to the point where all I felt was pain,” Foss says.

After doing some research, Foss came across Dr. Michael Schnaubelt’s bio on BayCare Clinic’s website.

Schnaubelt is an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic. He specializes in knee and hip joint replacement and arthroscopic surgery.

“I wanted a guy that specializes a little bit … he just seemed so down to earth,” Foss says. “I found that when I met him, he was very open to just listening and really wanting to know what he could do for you. I was very impressed with him.”

Foss says Schnaubelt suggested the arthritis in his knee could be scoped to alleviate his pain.

“As Dr. Schnaubelt was looking at my knee and since I already was experiencing pain in my hip, I jokingly asked ‘what do you think of a doing a twofer — a two-for-one, if you will,’” Foss says. “The doctor thought about it for a minute and said that would be a great idea and it would cost less since there would only be one anesthetic.”

That is exactly what happened. Foss had his left hip replaced along with his right knee.

“Unlike the previous surgery I had for my right hip, I wanted to do the anterior approach,” Foss says. “The healing time was less than half and I was up and moving in about six weeks. I felt great!”

Anterior hip replacement surgery treats hip joint ailments by creating a small, less invasive incision at the front of the hip. The frontal entry approach enables the surgeon to access the hip joint without cutting and then reattaching the muscles. Traditional hip replacement procedures enter the body through an incision close to the buttocks or through the side of the hip, often slicing through muscle.

Foss's knee healed faster, in about two weeks after surgery.

“I did do the rehab, which was super helpful,” Foss says. “I made sure I was walking and moving around to help get back to normal.”

Today, Foss is back to 100 percent and is back hunting and fishing, which he loves.

“I really wanted to go back to Alaska and to get a brown bear and after having this surgery, I am confident in doing so," he says.

“I would recommend this doctor to anyone,” Foss says. “Dr. Schnaubelt was so personable and was interested in me as a person and what I like to do.

“He did an amazing job.”

Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Author: Danielle Dungan