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Marilyn U

Marilyn U, a school cafeteria worker in Ramsey, New Jersey, has always enjoyed an active lifestyle, but that all changed three years ago when she began experiencing severe arthritis in her right ankle. She couldn’t remember ever having suffered an ankle injury, so she attributed the issue to years spent walking on concrete floors as a summer camp cook, often without proper shoes, and her relentless time spent enjoying the outdoors, whether gardening, fishing or swimming.

Initially, doctors hoped to relieve Marilyn’s pain by having her wear a brace on the ankle and via physical therapy. Unfortunately, neither option provided long-term relief. Doctors also had her try cortisone shots and prescription pain medications, but they were only a temporary fix as well. In the meantime, X-rays began to show the problem had developed into bone-on-bone arthritis in her ankle and had caused her foot to begin sticking out to the right, making walking extremely difficult.

Marilyn’s ankle issues quickly began to disrupt her day-to-day life. She could no longer walk on rough terrain or uneven sand, which limited her ability to enjoy swimming in the ocean, fishing at the lake or working in her garden. If she needed something stored in her basement, such as Christmas decorations, she would have to ask for help from a friend because she couldn’t carry the item back up the stairs without holding onto the railing. Even grocery shopping became challenging as she needed to use a motorized scooter to get around the store.

At wit’s end, Marilyn began discussing her options for a solution with multiple doctors. Both doctors recommended she receive either a total ankle replacement or an ankle fusion. Marilyn opted for a total ankle replacement. The only problem was finding a doctor who could take her on soon enough. That was when she was put in touch with Dr. Eugene Batelli of Metropolitan Ankle & Foot Care Specialists in Totowa, New Jersey, who was able to immediately schedule a surgery date for Marilyn. On May 25, 2016, Dr. Batelli implanted the INFINITY™ Total Ankle Replacement system from Wright Medical into Marilyn’s right ankle.

The INFINITY Total Ankle Replacement 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 Replacement 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 Replacement system. Talk to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and health to find out if surgery with the INFINITY Total Ankle Replacement system is a good option for you.

Three days after surgery, Marilyn was home recovering nicely – wearing a splint and using a wheelchair to get around. Within a month, she had migrated to wearing a boot, and she was soon able to begin walking with a cane unless she was especially tired or needed to travel a long distance. By the end of July, the boot was removed and she was able to start swimming at the pool for physical therapy. A month later, she was back to cutting up vegetables and serving students lunch at the school cafeteria, though she keeps a chair nearby in case she gets tired.

“Before the surgery, I was at a steady 7.5-8.5 pain level every day,” Marilyn said. “Now, the highest it gets is a 3 or 4 when it swells after I’ve been on my feet all day, and the pain continues to decrease as time goes on. It’s like night and day. Dr. Batelli expects it to be completely healed within a year of the surgery.”

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, Marilyn has been able to get back to spending plenty of time outdoors, and she even plans to adopt a dog now that she has the ability to take daily walks. She is also once again enjoying time with her friends, whether it’s cooking a big Sunday dinner for them or making plans to attend their 50th high school reunion at the end of October.

“I would absolutely recommend this procedure to anyone,” Marilyn said. “If you’re in half the pain that I was for as long as I was, and someone is telling you to get your ankle replaced, you should seriously think about doing it because it’s a world of difference.”

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.