Custom ankle replacements

June 9, 2009 9:43:17 AM PDT
Two million people visit the doctor every year because of pain from ankle arthritis or fractures. For some, ankle fusion was the only option to ease the pain, but it made the ankle stiff. A personalized ankle replacement could be the answer for those who want to put some spring back in their step. A spring-time stroll with her granddaughter is a simple pleasure Janis Taylor never takes for granted.

"It feels very liberating," Taylor said.

A fall that lead to a broken ankle more than 14 years ago was the beginning of a painful journey.

"My foot ended up on my knee and broke bones in the bottom of my leg," Taylor said.

Two ankle replacements failed. She was confined to a wheelchair.

"My freedom was at stake," Taylor said.

That's when she turned to Dr. Mark Myerson, a foot and ankle reconstruction expert who's helped many professional athletes get back into form. He creates customized ankle replacements for his patients. Traditional replacements are smaller and depend on support from the ankle. The problem -- sometimes the bones shatter under the pressure. Dr. Myerson's design extends deep into the heel bone, stabilizing the foot and preventing collapse.

"We can build this up into any custom device we want and now salvage the ankles that were previously non-correctable at all," Dr. Myerson said.

Before finding Dr. Myerson, Taylor's options were either amputation or ankle fusion, when plates and screws fuse the bones together. It relieves pain but leaves the joint stiff, limits movement, and would have shortened her leg by an inch and a half. With the customized replacement, her ankle is flexible and she only lost a quarter inch of height.

She's a grandmother who once feared she'd spend retirement sitting down and now approaches life one step at a time.

"For awhile, I didn't think I'd get to this point," Taylor said. "I'd always prayed I would."

Good candidates for the ankle replacement have had an unsuccessful ankle replacement in the past or have soft bones. After the replacement, patients have to stay away from impact activities but can still be active.


SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

USEFUL LINKS:
SEND TIP OR PHOTO  || REPORT TYPO ||  GET WIDGET

 EYEWITNESS TWITTER ||  FIND US ON FACEBOOK


Load Comments