Walking on Air After Ankle Replacement Surgery
Most people know someone who has had a knee or hip replaced—but an ankle? Thanks to advanced technology, total ankle replacements are becoming an appealing alternative to traditional ankle fusion surgery. For WD Page, it was the surgery he needed to keep him moving, pain-free.
A full-time missionary known to the Russian orphans he ministers as “Grandpa Dub,” WD had been experiencing ankle pain for a couple of years. “I had to be very careful with my ankle,” he says. “Walking was very painful, and I had a continual limp. It certainly slowed me down.”
WD was referred to Byron Hutchinson, DPM, who specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery at Franciscan Foot & Ankle Specialists-Highline. Dr. Hutchinson found that what began with an ankle fracture had developed into end-stage osteoarthritis.
WD was deemed a good candidate for total ankle replacement surgery. Since one of the benefits of this procedure is the quick recovery time—2 to 2 ½ months, compared to a staggering four to nine months for ankle fusion surgery—WD agreed that the surgery was the best option for him.
The procedure involves replacing the arthritic ankle with an implant composed of two or three parts that glide easily against each other. The ankle is able to retain its natural movement painlessly.
After surgery, WD spent just four days at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way and began to move his ankle six days later. “The hardest part was waiting for the doctor to tell me I could put weight on my foot again,” he remembers. But after eight weeks, he was up and walking.
“That ankle is absolutely performing the way it’s supposed to and doesn’t cause any problems whatsoever,” says WD, who is happy to be back to his missionary work. “The pain is gone, and I’m back at full speed again.”