Reclaiming Mobility: Markus Munger's Journey to Active Living After Shoulder Surgery

As a physical therapist and owner of Munger Physical Therapy, Markus Munger of Lexington, has spent decades successfully rehabilitating patients and reducing pain for those with a variety of conditions. As a lifelong sports enthusiast, he recently found himself sidelined by relentless shoulder pain hindering his ability to engage in the activities he loved most.

In 2014, Markus opted for shoulder arthroscopy, hoping to regain his former mobility. While the procedure provided some relief, it fell short of restoring him to his active lifestyle.

“I wasn’t able to swim anymore, shoot hoops or play golf. The surgery helped but it was only about 60-70 percent successful, and I wasn’t able to be as active with my kids and grandkids playing sports with them like I wanted to do,” says Markus.

Despite daily stretching and physical therapy to ease his pain, over time his pain intensified, impacting his quality of life personally and professionally.

“It got to the point where I was not able to work on patients in my practice, do pushups or use equipment like a chainsaw that would require upper body mobility,” he notes.

Markus finds a perfect match with Henry Ford Shoulder specialist

In 2022, knowing that his quality of life was taking a big hit, Markus knew that it was time to investigate shoulder surgery. He knew who his top choice would be.

“I have provided rehabilitation for some Dr. Stephanie Muh’s patients, and even though I live in Lexington, I knew she had excellent outcomes and was a specialist in shoulder surgery,” says Markus. “Despite the distance, she was my top choice due to her expertise.”

After a careful evaluation, Dr. Muh found Markus had severe bone-on-bone arthritis where all the cartilage was worn out. This prevented him from doing activities he enjoyed and caused bare bone rubbing against itself in the joint. Dr. Muh recommended a total shoulder replacement, a procedure promising a more permanent solution to Markus's shoulder issues.

“A total shoulder replacement was an excellent option for Markus,” said Stephanie Muh, MD, FAOA, FAAOS, orthopedic surgeon, shoulder and elbow service chief at Henry Ford Health. “In this surgery, we removed the bone-on-bone arthritis and replaced it with a metal ball and plastic socket that allowed his shoulder joint to move smoothly with the metal gliding on the plastic. The surgery took about an hour, and he was able to go home the same day.”

New year, new shoulder, new quality of life

The surgery, performed at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, in January 2023, marked a turning point in Markus's life. With Dr. Muh's skill and guidance, he experienced a remarkable recovery, surpassing even his own expectations.

“Dr. Muh did an excellent job, not only with the surgery but with communicating what I should expect in my recovery. The staff also did a great job and the whole process went very smoothly,” says Markus. “I gave myself one year to fully recover, but after six months, I was 100 percent back to normal and could do things that I haven’t been able to do since 2012.”

Thanks to the success of his surgery, he's back on the court, in the pool, and even wielding a chainsaw with ease.

“I’m now able to provide physical therapy for my patients and resume doing the sports I love while also being active with my kid and grandkids again, so it made a dramatic difference.”

With his quality of life restored, Markus looks forward to embracing every moment of his active lifestyle. Although his other shoulder is fine for now, he says he may eventually need left shoulder surgery as well.

“If that time comes, there’s no doubt, I will have the surgery with Dr. Muh.”

Learn more about shoulder replacement surgery and if it’s right for you.

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