James K was an avid runner, beginning at 12 years old. He sprained his ankle multiple times as a youngster but, if he had a race, he would tape his ankle and run with the injured ankle. His temporary fix helped him get through many road races and two marathons while his ankle was sprained and swollen. This short-term pain did not get between James and the sport he loved. Even as an adult he ran 5-10 miles a day every day, up until the early 2000s.
As a result of repeated use of this “quick fix” technique, the ligaments and tendons on the outside of James’ right ankle progressively stretched to the point where his foot and leg did not align with one another. James worked in a shipyard on a submarine and was a volunteer firefighter, therefore, he was constantly on his feet both in and outside of work. He lived roughly 40 years with the pain in his ankle and misalignment of his joints but eventually decided he needed to find a solution.
James met with three orthopedic physicians, including a sports medicine specialist, who diagnosed him with end-stage arthritis and told him that ankle fusion was his only option to stop his pain. He did not like the idea of permanently joining his bones together and the limited mobility that would result. Feeling frustrated and out of answers James dealt with the pain as best he could.
However, in 2013, James read an article in a local newspaper about Dr. Hopson and the team at Tidewater Physicians Multi-Specialty Group, who were performing total ankle replacement surgeries. The article detailed a story of a 71-year-old woman, who had her ankle replaced by Dr. Hopson. After undergoing the procedure she was back to playing tennis six months later, which inspired James to call Dr. Hopson’s office and make an appointment.
At their first meeting, Dr. Hopson was shocked at how bad James’ ankle was. He recalls Dr. Hopson telling him, “that my ankle was the second worst he had ever seen.” In the hopes of putting an end to James’ pain Dr. Hopson suggested a reconstruction procedure that he said had a 50 percent chance of working. If the procedure didn’t work, Dr. Hopson would go forward with a total ankle replacement procedure. James agreed, and the reconstruction occurred in February of 2015.
“Before receiving the new ankle, my leg and ankle were not aligned properly, and if I stood up and the bones tried to align unnaturally, it felt like a nail was being driven into my foot,” said James. The reconstruction procedure was moderately helpful, but both Dr. Hopson and James agreed that a total ankle replacement was necessary. In June 2015, Dr. Hopson implanted the INFINITY™ Total Ankle System into James’ right foot.
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.
Thirty-six hours after the procedure, James was at home recovering nicely. “I sat on the edge of the bed, and I told my wife “believe it or not, this is the first time in 10 years that my ankle hasn’t hurt. It was wild!” James exclaimed. “I couldn’t put any weight on it at the time, but before the procedure, my ankle would ache while only laying on the bed. This was a complete change for me.”
James quickly went through rehabilitation and returned to work in mid-August. “Work was significantly better after receiving a new ankle than it had been in the last few years,” he explained. “I might not be able to run, but I can walk and use my metal detector to find more of the coins I enjoy collecting and I’m able to find Indian artifacts as well.”
He can do all of the things he likes to do because he read the article in 2013 and met Dr. Hopson. With two children, one grandchild and a passion to live an active lifestyle and work life, James’ ankle replacement helped him go back to performing in all aspects of life with ease and enjoyment.
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.
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.