Twist of Fate

Ankle replacement offers long-term solution.

Patricia Meesit admits she’s been rough on her feet over the years.
She twisted and sprained her left ankle numerous times in her younger years. As she aged, she developed arthritis in her ankle.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Patricia can once again enjoy long walks with her dog, Emma.

“I was not the most graceful person in the world,” Patricia relates. “I was just clumsy on my feet.”
The arthritis, combined with the earlier sprains and other injuries, left her in constant, agonizing pain.
“I had done so much damage over the years, I developed the arthritis, and I was in a lot of constant pain,” Patricia explains. “It didn’t matter if I was sitting down, walking or trying to sleep, my left ankle always hurt. The throbbing progressed to the point where I could barely drive, and I certainly could not walk for very long. My pain level was a constant eight on a scale of one to ten.”
In recent years, Patricia has developed a love of square dancing. She also enjoys taking long walks and playing shuffleboard with friends.
“I was in so much pain that I couldn’t enjoy those activities anymore,” Patricia shares. “I was not myself. I am normally very active and I can’t sit still. I found I was forced to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. I wasn’t liking that too much.”
Patricia consulted a podiatrist and received a multitude of treatments, including steroid patches, injections, physical therapy, ankle braces and multiple surgeries to clean out the joints in the ankle.
“After months of different treatments, nothing helped long term,” Patricia notes. “It was at that time that my podiatrist sent me to Advanced Orthopedic Center in Port Charlotte.”

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Patricia met with Steven R. Anthony, DO, at Advanced Orthopedic Center.
“After meeting with Patricia initially, we took x-rays to confirm the diagnosis,” informs Dr. Anthony. “Those results confirmed she had bone-on-bone, post-traumatic arthritis in the left ankle.
“Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot or ankle. Dislocations and fractures –particularly those that damage the joint surface – are the most common injuries that lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Like osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis causes the cartilage between the bones to wear away. It can develop many years after the initial injury.”
Arthritis is characterized as an inflammation of one or more of your joints. It can cause pain and stiffness in any joint in the body, and is common in the small joints of the foot and ankle. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis. Ankle arthritis is quite rare compared to knee or hip arthritis. Surgery is always the last resort for patients, and Dr. Anthony does not suggest it until all other avenues of healing have been exhausted.
“Patricia had already attempted conventional treatments, and they were all unsuccessful,” Dr. Anthony explains. “An ankle fusion is the historical treatment for severe ankle arthritis. That surgery involves welding the ankle shut and forcing the two main ankle bones, the tibia and talus, to regrow together. This stops the grinding of the bones. It is an excellent procedure, but it results in a major loss of motion long term. People can obviously walk on the foot again, but it is not ideal for an active individual, like Patricia.
“I suggested a total ankle replacement for Patricia, as I felt it was her best possible option. She is an active woman, so we wanted to be sure to reinstate full range of motion, and this procedure does just that.
“The ideal candidate is relatively thin, older than seventy and active, but not overactive. For example, I would not perform this surgery on someone who runs marathons as they would likely wear the ankle out too quickly. Patricia is the perfect candidate. She plays tennis and shuffleboard and enjoys walking her dog, and I wanted to get her back to doing those things.”

Back on Her Feet

Patricia was anxious and nervous leading up to the day of the procedure.
“It sounded a bit scary when it was described to me, especially the recovery period,” she says. “But, at that point, I was willing to try it because I was in so much pain all the time. I just wanted my life back. I wanted to be able to walk and be active without being in constant pain.”
Dr. Anthony says the surgery takes about an hour and a half to perform and requires an overnight stay in the hospital for observation.
“Once we discharge the patient, they are not able to walk on the foot for six weeks,” Dr. Anthony describes. “This allows the ankle to heal completely. If they walk on it too soon, the joint can become loose.
“After the six weeks are complete, we put them in a boot for about four weeks,” he continues. “Once that boot is taken off, patients undergo physical therapy to help learn to walk again and put weight back on that foot.”
Patricia is thankful to Dr. Anthony for his bedside manner and expertise.
“He’s wonderful, and I highly recommend him,” Patricia says. “He is patient, and he tells you everything up front. He doesn’t hide behind any details, and that’s important.”
Although her road to recovery took a bit longer than expected, Patricia is thrilled to say she is pain free and back on the dance floor again.
“I love to square dance so I’m back to doing that, and I love it!” she raves. “I can also take long walks with my dog again, and that makes her, and me, very happy.”

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    • Advanced Orthopedic Center

      Whether you are a professional or collegiate athlete, an active retiree, a "weekend warrior," a high school football star or a hard-working employee anxious to make a difference, the Advanced Orthopedic Center is here to help you feel better a... Read More

    • Steven R. Anthony, DO

      Steven R. Anthony, DO, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University and went on to attend the West Virginia School of Osteo... Read More