From injured athlete to sports medicine doctor

Dr. Duany knows what her sports medicine and orthopedic patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana are going through, which allows her to build strong relationships that help improve care.

For a self-described “nerd who loves sports,” it’s no surprise that Nyagon G. Duany, M.D., has built a successful career in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Her specialties with Norton Orthopedic Institute combine her passion for problem-solving with the dexterity and precision she developed as an athlete. Plus, she couldn’t help but be drawn to a practice area where she has personal experience.

The daughter of South Sudanese immigrants, Dr. Duany grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. She excelled in school and loved to read, but she also shined at volleyball and basketball. She was so talented, in fact, that she earned a basketball scholarship to Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. Her four siblings were also athletes, so at one time or another, they each ended up with sports-related injuries.

As a result, “we had a close personal relationship with our orthopedic surgeon,” Dr. Duany said.

Injury leads to sports medicine interest

During her sophomore year at Bradley, she sustained a shoulder injury that required surgery. She was fascinated by the mechanics of surgery, and impressed by her doctor’s bedside manner. She expressed her interest in medicine and orthopedics to him.

Dr. Duany knows what her sports medicine and orthopedic patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana are going through, which allows her to build strong relationships that help improve care.

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“He took me under his wing and became a mentor,” Dr. Duany said.

Dr. Duany went on to get her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. She followed that with a residency in orthopedic surgery at Howard University, Washington, D.C., and a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Now, she finds fulfillment in eliminating her patients’ pain.

One of the things Dr. Duany loves about orthopedics is how result-driven it is. Unlike chronic conditions that are treated but not cured, the injuries she encounters usually can be corrected with surgery.

“Most of our patients are pretty healthy and active, so their goal is to get back to what they love to do,” Dr. Duany said. “It’s very rewarding when people come in with a problem, and we can fix it.”

She’s skilled at arthroscopic procedures, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in the knee, and shoulder rotator cuff repairs. While her specialty is sports injuries, Dr. Duany also treats general orthopedic issues, including arthritis, fractures and other injuries.

She sees children and adults, and makes sure each one of them feels valued and respected. She wants them to know she truly cares about their well-being, and makes sure they fully understand everything their treatment and recovery will entail.

Better care through trusting relationships

One of her greatest assets is her ability to connect with her patients, because she knows exactly what they’re going through.

“I’m able to relate to my patients, and that helps them trust me and feel comfortable with me,” Dr. Duany said.

She believes that trust leads to better outcomes — the stronger a relationship she has with a patient, the more compliant he or she is in the recovery and aftercare.

Dr. Duany joined Norton Orthopedic Institute in February 2019, but she has been building relationships in Greater Louisville since moving to the area in 2016 with her husband, Kwadwo, a clinical pharmacist; they have two children, ages 4 and 2. Dr. Duany practiced in Southern Indiana prior to joining Norton Orthopedic Institute.

Though she’s retired from basketball, Dr. Duany is still fueled by the competitive spirit that drove her to excel in sports. Today, Dr. Duany is striving to be one of the best in her field.

“I would like to be known as one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the Kentuckiana area, and not just because I am the busiest,” Dr. Duany said. “If you want somebody who has a good bedside manner, who will take good care of you and really listen to you, you should come see me.”

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