The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Karen is a daughter, sister and fiancé from Maryland, who played competitive softball for 38 years. Unfortunately, while playing the sport she loved, Karen and sprained her right ankle during a game when she was 25, and her ankle was never the same. The joint twisted easily after the first injury and became weaker any time that she played. Karen would wear a wrap or brace on her ankle any time she was active, but the joint would quickly become swollen, hot and painful afterwards. A few years after the first twist, Karen decided she had to see a doctor to address the pain and weakness of the joint.
The first doctor Karen consulted with drilled holes in the ankle bone to promote growth, but that was only a temporary fix, and soon after the ankle began causing Karen pain again and the cartilage in the bone wore thin. She visited a second doctor, who took out pieces of the bone that were causing part of the painful problem, but this was only another quick fix.
The problem continued to persist to the point where Karen had to stop playing the game she loved and cease all exercise. That wasn’t the only activity that Karen had to give up. She and her fiancé had loved to go to car shows, work in the flower beds in their yard and travel to vineyards in Napa, Upstate New York and Italy for wine tastings, but all of those trips had to be limited in how much they walked. They had to strategize so they knew how far they were walking and that there were places along the way for Karen to take breaks.
Her doctor offered her pain killers, but she didn’t like the idea of taking them and instead she went for regular cortisone shot appointments. She searched high and low for the perfect orthotic shoe, but no shoe could make the pain go away. The cartilage in her ankle was gone and the ankle bone was rubbing against other bones.
Finally, following an unrelated partial knee replacement in November of 2014, she asked her doctor for a referral for her ankle issues and scheduled her first appointment with Dr. Steven Neufeld. At their appointment, Karen learned about ankle replacement technology as an option to solve the joint issues and immediately scheduled the procedure.
Karen’s ankle replacement was conducted on October 14, 2015, and she stayed at the hospital for only one night. Even though she was given pain killers, her doctor was impressed with how she quickly stopped needing the medication.
“My ankle didn’t hurt at all after the surgery after the nerve blocker wore off,” said Karen. “Before the surgery, I was at a level 9 for pain, and it quickly became a 0 afterwards!”
Karen’s ankle was wrapped in a cast for a short time and then in a boot for about a month post-op. She began physical therapy three weeks after surgery, using crutches or a small bicycle when needing to maneuver in public. After three weeks, her doctor approved for Karen to put a little weight on her ankle.
“After two weeks of being able to put slight weight on my ankle, I was able to walk without the crutches,” said Karen. “I was thrilled to get rid of them, and now I live without pain.”
Now with the ankle replacement done, Karen goes to the gym regularly and walks 8,000 steps per day pain-free. She’s also back to enjoying the outdoors and trips with her fiancé.
“I’ve told people about the ankle replacement technology, and I’m happy to help anyone that I can by educating them about this option when you have extreme ankle pain,” said Karen. “I know not everyone is a candidate for ankle replacement, but if they are appropriate for it, the surgery is absolutely the way to go.”