On December 3, 2001, Bethel, Conn., resident Debby was walking down a flight of stairs in front of her house when she slipped on ice and fell. She slid down five of the stairs before coming down on a landing, where her left foot became caught under one of the stairs while her body kept going. The accident left her with a dislocated and badly broken ankle.
Doctors outfitted Debby’s ankle with nine screws and two plates, but in June 2002, her body started rejecting them, forcing doctors to remove them. Despite therapy, she continued to experience significant pain, which disrupted her normally active lifestyle in small ways. She could no longer go for long walks, wear high heels, go shopping at the mall or do yard work. Of all her activities, the only one she could still maintain was swimming.
In 2013, the pain had become so unbearable that she went to see another orthopedic foot and ankle subspecialist, Dr. Randolph Sealey of Danbury Orthopedics in Danbury, Conn. Dr. Sealey immediately recommended a total ankle replacement and told her he had several other patients she could talk to who had had the procedure. Unsure if this was the right path for her, Debby joked, “I guess you’ll see me when I can’t walk anymore.” She told him she would call him if that was what she wanted to do, but she never did and continued to live with the pain.
A couple years later, on October 2, 2015, Debby woke up to find that she couldn’t put any weight at all on her left ankle. The day before, she had begun to feel more pain than usual when she accidentally stepped into a hole, which she thought had just caused a small ankle sprain. Realizing she couldn’t walk, she told her husband they needed to get to the orthopedic doctor right away. Upon arrival, the staff promptly gave Debby an incredibly painful shot of cortisone to her ankle, which at that point was just bone-on-bone. Unfortunately, she continued to feel excruciating pain and had to use crutches or a cane to get around.
Three days later, at the end of her rope, Debby decided it was time to move forward with Dr. Sealey’s recommendation of an ankle replacement. On December 1, 2015, Dr. Sealey, replaced Debby’s left ankle with the INFINITY™ Total Ankle System from 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.
After returning home from the hospital, Debby started therapy and rented a scooter to help her get around. At the beginning of January 2016, she was able to start putting pressure on her left leg and soon transitioned to walking with a cane. By the end of February, just 12 weeks after the surgery, she was walking completely on her own.
“I know it will be a full year for my ankle to completely get back to normal, but I already have absolutely no more pain and have full movement of my ankle,” Debby said. “I wish I’d listened to my doctor three years ago so I wouldn’t have needlessly suffered for three more years.”
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, Debby has been able to resume much of her lifestyle and daily activities. She no longer needs to walk with a cane and can now more easily walk up and down stairs, go out shopping with friends, complete her daily household chores and enjoy working on her yard.
“I would recommend this procedure to anybody,” Debby said. “It has really helped. I love that I’m able to do the little things I couldn’t do before like standing on a stool to fix a lightbulb or changing the air conditioner vents. If you have pain, and the doctor suggests you have this done, just do it.”
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.