Walking Tall with Total Ankle Replacement

Roger Griinke suffered from ankle issues for 50 years, dating back to his days as a pole climber in the army when he installed electrical and communication wiring in Vietnam. Since then, he says, hisRoger Griinke ankles have been weak and have gotten steadily worse. He estimates he’s had hundreds of sprains over the last five decades.

By his late 60s, the ligament damage and arthritis were significantly affecting his lifestyle. He’d avoid walking any distance and would find himself limping and hobbling, barely able to walk by the end of the day.

He tried cortisone injections, but the relief was only temporary. That’s when he turned to Dr. Jason George DeVries, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon with Aurora BayCare. Dr. DeVries recommend total ankle replacement surgery for Roger’s left foot.

Total ankle replacement involves cutting out the diseased and damaged parts of the ankle bone and replacing it with an artificial joint. In Roger’s case, his new ankle is made of cobalt chromium and plastic spacers.

And while ankle replacement requires open surgery, doctors can use X-rays and CT scans to plan every aspect, essentially completing a virtual surgery before the actual operation.

Recovery is a slow process with this procedure, but by the six-month mark, Roger says, it felt brand new, “like nothing ever happened.”

“It’s like I’ve gone back fifty years,” he says.

Dr. DeVries says Roger’s right ankle needs less complicated treatment. He’ll just clean up some bone spurs so Roger can stay back on his feet for many years to come.

Watch the Health Watch segment featuring Roger and Dr. DeVries. 

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