Healthy You - Every Day

Dancing Queen

Thanks to two knee replacements, Scranton ballroom dancer Maureen Riggi never missed a beat

Maureen Riggi signed up for a ballroom dance class nearly 15 years ago so she could take part in nightly dances on a cruise. The rest, as they say, was history.

“I just fell in love with ballroom dancing,” Riggi says. “I love everything about it: the music, the dancing, the people. It has become a huge part of my life.”

In addition to classes each week, Riggi also began dancing in showcases. While she loved dancing, the activity was exacerbating knee pain from existing osteoarthritis in her left knee. She saw John Henzes, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute–Dickson City, who recommended conservative treatments such as cortisone injections and physical therapy.

Riggi says the treatments were effective for about a year, and then the pain returned. That’s when Dr. Henzes recommended a total knee replacement. While apprehensive, Riggi opted to have the surgery.

“Dr. Henzes greatly assured me that my knee would be better, and my dancing would be as well,” she says.

Riggi had her knee replacement in 2017 and was surprised to find she was pain-free and able to start walking the next day. Thanks to her active lifestyle and physical therapy, Riggi was back to dancing just six weeks after her knee replacement.

A spin on the same procedure

A few years after her left knee replacement, Riggi found herself back in Dr. Henzes office with pain in her right knee. Imaging revealed arthritis and a torn meniscus. Dr. Henzes performed a minimally invasive procedure to remove the torn meniscus, which gave her initial relief but it was short-lived. When her pain returned, Dr. Henzes suggested a knee replacement using a different type of prosthesis.

“Maureen is a very active person with all the dancing that she does, and we wanted to give her as much mobility as possible,” Dr. Henzes says. “I recommended using a new prosthesis that offered increased rotation so she would be able to dance at the same level or even better.”

Riggi had her second knee replacement in 2020. The procedure was done in the same manner as her first knee replacement, the only difference was the prosthesis. Riggi noticed a huge difference right away.

“My first post-op appointment was 10 days after surgery, and I was able to just about run down the hallway. I was dancing within three weeks,” Riggi says.

Once she started dancing again, Riggi was surprised to find her dancing improved. Her new knee offers better range of motion, and she can execute turns and dips better than before. Since she is now dancing without pain, she also can stay on her feet longer.

The beat goes on

Riggi has been dancing without pain since her second knee replacement. After her physical therapy was officially finished, she chose to continue with her physical therapist to do some additional guided exercises to gain strength.

She now dances in showcases and events throughout the Scranton area. Riggi says staying active has helped her remain in good health and make friends within the community. Dancing has become much more than a pastime.

She is grateful Dr. Henzes was able to help her continue dancing. “I would absolutely recommend Dr. Henzes. He is an amazing surgeon, very patient and understanding. He really listened to my concerns and found a solution that worked better than I could have imagined,” Riggi says.

Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute

Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute

The region’s leader in joint, spine and orthopedic care gets you moving again.

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