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Many people are aware of the existence and benefits of artificial hips and knees; however, options for patients who spent years suffering from painful ankle osteoarthritis have been limited. Today, advancements in technology have made artificial ankles a more durable alternative as Ron, a 63 year-old resident of Spring Branch, Texas can attest.

Ron spent the better part of 40 years on his feet, literally. After playing college football, he spent the majority of his leisure time golfing and playing with his young son. As a telephone company repairman, Ron’s job kept him upright constantly. Eventually, the physical toll caught up with him and in his early 30s he began to suffer from arthritis. Throughout the years, Ron underwent multiple surgeries for knee and rotator cuff problems. However, nothing was more painful than his arthritic ankles, which eventually forced him to spend more than two and a half years in a wheelchair.

Over the past 30 years, Ron developed a system to determine how long he could be on his feet before he needed to rest. However, as the years progressed so did his arthritis: he gradually had to cut back on his recreational activities and eventually started walking with a limp. Frustrated by his pain and suffering, Ron decided to replace his left ankle in late 2005.

Although Ron was optimistic that the procedure would help him reclaim his active lifestyle, his hopes were short lived. Six months post-surgery, a medication that Ron was taking to treat an autoimmune disorder caused his bone marrow to deteriorate and led to a very serious blood infection. As a result, his body rejected the original ankle implant and it was surgically removed. When his doctor thought the infection was cleared, Ron underwent surgery again to have another artificial ankle implanted. However, the blood infection persisted, leaving him extremely weak. Again, the device was removed, but this time was replaced with an antibiotic block, a bone cement mixture that contains antibiotics which is implanted into the joint to fight infections. The antibiotic block is left in the body until the infection clears. In addition to the many complications with his left ankle, the arthritis in his right ankle was becoming increasingly worse.

Ron spent all of 2007 and 2008, and part of 2009, in a wheelchair because of the many complications with his left ankle. As a result of his inactivity, he gained 30 pounds. Although his family feared the worst, he never lost hope that he would walk again. His wife and son were amazed by his resilience, but deep down they thought he would be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.

Everything changed one day in the spring of 2009 when Ron read about the latest advancement in artificial ankles, the INBONETotal Ankle Replacement System from Wright.

The INBONETotal Ankle is intended to be used to treat patients with ankle joints damaged by severe arthritis or a failed previous ankle surgery. The INBONE Total Ankle is intended to give patients limited mobility by reducing pain and restoring movement in the ankle.

Not everyone is a good candidate for the INBONE Total Ankle. Talk to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and health to find out if surgery with the INBONE Total Ankle is a good option for you.

Dr. Marvin Brown of The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group thought Ron was a good candidate to have his right ankle replaced with the INBONE Total Ankle. Due to the many complications with his left ankle, however, Dr. Brown suggested fusing it to alleviate the pain. Ron underwent INBONE surgery on his right ankle in August 2009 and the ankle fusion, on his left, in December 2009. Less than one year after both surgeries, Ron put his wheelchair in storage and hasn’t looked back.

Immediately after waking from the first surgery, Ron committed himself to the physical therapy that was needed to regain the mobility he once enjoyed. By the time he underwent ankle fusion surgery for his left ankle, he had completed the recovery for his INBONE ankle and was feeling great. Today, Ron is a completely different person. He and his wife are traveling, he is back on the golf course, and is once again able to play catch with his son and grandson. As Ron says, “I always knew I would walk again and that I would find the right option for me. One of the best moments occurred when I danced with my wife again for the first time in three years.”

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.