Brenda T, a wife, mother and grandmother in Cookeville, Tennessee, had always enjoyed an active lifestyle, from gardening to traveling and hiking with her kids. That all changed in 1998 after she was involved in a car accident that resulted in her ankle being crushed. She was taken to a hospital where she had multiple surgeries, but the damage was so severe she was initially told she may never walk again and would likely ultimately need an ankle replacement.
Doctors at first hoped to manage Brenda’s pain using cortisone injections, and she slowly learned how to walk again with the help of a physical therapist, though her walking never returned to the level it was before the accident. It took her twice as long to complete regular household chores, she avoided stairs and she needed help gardening. Once her kids had children of their own, she found herself missing out on many fun activities with them due to her decreased mobility. “I couldn’t even get down on the floor to play with my granddaughters,” Brenda said.
The pain also made traveling difficult for Brenda. While her family played on the beach, she often had to sit on the balcony and watch because it was too difficult for her to walk in the sand. Before leaving on family vacations, or when she knew she would be doing a lot of walking, Brenda would get cortisone shots to ease the pain of putting pressure on her ankle. By summer 2015, however, the shots had stopped working for longer than a few days.
“I pretty much got to where I didn’t have a life and had to stay home a lot because I was in pain all the time,” Brenda said. “I spent a lot of time soaking my foot in Epsom salt baths and using ice and heat packs on my ankle to try to get some relief.”
For years, Brenda had been researching total ankle replacement surgeries. In May 2015, she finally decided she was ready to meet with a doctor about the procedure and made an appointment with Dr. Marc Tressler of Tri-Star Hendersonville Medical Center for early August. While she waited for her appointment, she spoke with a woman who had gotten both of her ankles replaced and is now able to hike wearing hiking boots. Brenda couldn’t believe the level of success for this woman and was excited at the prospect of getting her own active lifestyle back.
Dr. Tressler told Brenda she would need to have all the hardware in her ankle removed ahead of getting her ankle replaced. After the hardware was removed, she had to wait for her bones to heal for a couple of months but finally received the INFINITY™ Total Ankle Replacement from Wright Medical in her right ankle on Dec. 17, 2015.
The INFINITY™ Total Ankle Replacement 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 Replacement 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 Replacement. Talk to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and health to find out if surgery with the INFINITY Total Ankle Replacement is a good option for you.
After the surgery Brenda used a scooter to get around her house until she was able to begin putting weight on her ankle with the help of a boot and a walker in mid-January. By February she was able to wear tennis shoes, and, by the end of March, she was driving.
“I was miserable before the replacement procedure,” Brenda said. “In my recovery, I didn’t have a lot of pain at all.” Brenda attributes this to the exercise she did during her recovery, especially walking. “Prior to my surgery, most of my pain came from weight bearing. Now, there is no pain at all.”
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.
Since receiving her new ankle, Brenda has been able to get back to spending time with her family doing the activities she had missed out on for so long. She has taken numerous trips since the surgery, including trips to the beach with her husband, where she can now walk in the sand. She is able to keep up with her granddaughters at amusement parks and has taken her mom and aunts to visit the Smoky Mountains. Brenda is also now back to working in her garden and able to take the stairs with ease.
“I would definitely recommend INFINITY to others experiencing pain,” Brenda said. “There’s no comparison to before and after my surgery. I can keep going from the time I get up in the morning until bedtime. I finally have my life back.”
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.