Back on the dance floor

September 29, 2008 9:09:26 PM PDT
For one local couple, ballroom dancing was their passion long before 6abc's hit show "Dancing with the Stars."The couple, from West Chester, has won dozens of dance competitions.

They insist that 6abc is among those they have to thank for their most recent championships, and the many more they are certain to seize.

It began 20 years ago, when Bill and Patti Underwood made a deal.

She would try golf if he took a few ballroom dance lessons.

Patti never had to get on the golf course because, once Bill got on the dance floor, he was hooked.

The couple has since won dozens of dance contests and, last year, took several top prizes at the nationals.

But by last summer their dancing future was in doubt because of painful arthritis in Bill's left hip.

"It's all day long. The worst time is at night. You can't sleep," Bill said.

Bill pressed on through the pain, knowing he couldn't just bluff his way across the dance floor.

Bill said, "The girl is the picture, and she is the show. But it all starts with the gentleman. The hip is so important for the rise, the fall, the swing across the floor."

It all made Patti very nervous.

"I was so afraid something would happen, you know, where his hip would give out, and he would fall," Patti said.

The Underwoods were on the verge of quitting, when they saw a story on Action News.

We detailed a new technique for partial hip replacement called Hip Resurfacing, a procedure that enabled a tae kwon do expert to return to his beloved sport.

Dr. William Hozack of the Rothman Institute says a younger, fit person, with strong bones, like Bill, is the best candidate for hip resuracing.

The device that goes into the hip bone is the same as in standard joint replacement.

But instead of removing the top of the thigh bone, and inserting a prosthetic, the bone is capped.

Some recipients say it feels more natural.

"In some respects, it doesn't burn any bridges, and a young person, they might need another operation down the road, and you can convert to the regular hip replacement," Dr. Hozack said.

One month after surgery, Bill was back dancing socially. Then, in April 2008, the Underwoods won in two categories at the nationals, including one category that has 9 dances!

"I'm impressed. I wish I could dance that well!" Dr. Hozack said.

What were once painful moves, are now back in the couple's routines, and Bill and Patti say they'll do even better next year.

"I don't even think about the hip anymore," Bill said. "We just dance and move across the floor."

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