In 2004 then-Boston resident Jim started feeling pain in his knees and right ankle. The soreness came along gradually and he attributed it to the wear and tear associated with more than three decades of distance running and other physically demanding hobbies. Beyond running, Jim enjoyed hiking, skiing and golfing, depending on the season. Through these activities, however, he sprained his ankle nearly a dozen times and the injuries would eventually come back to haunt him.
In the ensuing years, the pain in Jim’s knees and ankle began to impact his quality-of-life. As his condition deteriorated, he was forced to cut back on running and hiking and within a few years, he had no choice but to quit those activities altogether. In addition, normal day-to-day undertakings were becoming increasingly difficult.
In 2007, Jim visited an orthopedic surgeon in the Boston area who diagnosed him with severe arthritis. His knees were more painful than his ankle at the time, in part because he continued to ski frequently which involved significant bending and crouching. A few months later, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up his knees which, combined with subsequent injections, provided some relief.
As Jim’s knees began to feel better, the pain associated with his balky ankle seemed to magnify. This was no surprise as the orthopedic surgeon had previously determined that he tore multiple ligaments in his ankle and did not have any cartilage left. For seven years, he persevered as best he could through increasing discomfort, but the pain continued to take a toll.
By 2014, Jim was miserable. He could no longer walk his dog and needed wheelchair assistance at airports. A frequent flier, he could not put a bag in the overhead compartment or retrieve his luggage without excruciating pain.
His tipping point came later that year when, during a round of golf while on vacation, he felt something snap in his right ankle. At that point a California resident, he scheduled a visit with Dr. David Sitler at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego. Dr. Sitler ordered additional imaging scans to look at the loss of cartilage and torn ligaments.
Considering his options, Jim immediately ruled out an ankle fusion as he knew the resulting loss of mobility would effectively ruin his active lifestyle. Having been educated on total ankle replacements by his Boston-area orthopedic surgeon in 2007, Jim knew that this was the best option for him and in February 2015, he was implanted with the INFINITY™ Total Ankle System by Wright Medical.
The INFINITY™ Total Ankle System is intended to be used to treat patients with ankle joints damaged by severe arthritis or a failed previous ankle surgery. The INFINITY™ Total Ankle System is intended to give patients limited mobility by reducing pain and restoring movement in the ankle.
Not everyone is a good candidate for the INFINITY™ Total Ankle System. Talk to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and health to find out if surgery with the INFINITY™ Total Ankle System is a good option for you.
In an untimely stroke of bad luck, a day or two after the surgery, Jim experienced a gout flare-up in his left foot. He was surprised to discover, however, that the gout pain in his left foot was significantly more noticeable than the pain associated with the surgery on his right foot. Within two weeks, the gout dissipated and Jim began physical therapy on his new ankle.
As his rehabilitation progressed, and as Jim began to put weight on the ankle, he realized that what small amount of discomfort he experienced was likely due to the stitches and scarring associated with the surgery. The agonizing pain of the previous ten years was all but gone. Jim’s physical therapy lasted three months and by the time he finished, he was walking virtually pain-free and without a limp.
Many factors contribute to the length of hospital stay and rehabilitation. These factors include, but are not limited to, your age and health at the time of surgery as well as your surgeon’s determination of the appropriate hospital stay and rehabilitation. Additionally, there are risks associated with ankle replacement surgery such as pain and bruising, damage to blood vessels or nerves, infection, or blood clots that can travel to your heart or lungs. If you experience these complications, your hospital stay may be extended.
Jim began to resume some of the activities that he had previously abandoned, such as walking the dog, hiking, golfing and bicycling (a replacement for running, which isn’t allowed on the new ankle). He is planning to attend an upcoming work training at the Grand Canyon and will hike the Swiss Alps later this year.
“The INFINITY™ Total Ankle System has allowed me to get back a part of my life that I thought I lost,” said Jim. “When I played my first round of golf after surgery, I realized that I could once again do the things that I loved to do. I am back to where I was before this whole ordeal started.”
These results are specific to this individual only. Individual results and activity levels after surgery vary and depend on many factors including age, weight and prior activity level. There are risks and recovery times associated with surgery and there are certain individuals who should not undergo surgery.