HealthWatch: Ankle fusion

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Green Bay (WFRV) Ankle replacement surgery can relieve pain for many ankle arthritis sufferers- but not everyone is a good candidate for the surgery.
 
Ankle fusion surgery can relieve the pain for those patients. 
 
Doug Devalk not only had ankle arthritis he also had an ankle deformity.
 
As the owner of  Kamps Bar & Grill in Combined Locks, Doug  is on his feet serving up a good time all day long, “I’m there on my feet seven, eight, nine hours,” said Doug Devalk.  
 
But Doug’s active lifestyle threatened his work, “I played volley ball, I played softball, I played basketball and that is where the injuries came from,” explained Doug, “They told me it was arthritis and it was going to get worse.”
 
a specialist recommended recombined fusion surgery- but Doug was leery, “I heard fusion surgery I thought that would be a peg leg,” said Doug.
 
But the pain got worse, “Just after  two to three hours  the pain got so bad it changed your personality so my customers could tell that I was in pain,” said Doug.
 
So Doug went to see foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Brandon Scharer at Aurora BayCare Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, “Doug’s diagnosis was the varus ankle deformity that’s the angulation of deformity in the ankle as well as ankle arthritis,” explained Brandon Schrarer, foot and ankle surgeon, Aurora BayCare Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
 
Because of the deformity- Doug was not a candidate for an ankle replacement so Dr. Sharer suggested an ankle fusion, “Basically  we’re removing that joint, straightening the ankle joint so its in an appropriate position and that joint will become one bone essentially,” explained Dr. Scharer.
 
Instead of using the traditional lateral approach, Dr. Sharer used the anterior approach to fix the ankle, “It’s a much better approach because we’re not removing as much bone, we’re keeping the vascular supply to that joint which increases the rate of union,” explained Dr. Scharer.
 
Fixing both problems, “one we corrected the deformity so he can walk flat on that foot again and two we eliminated the arthritis in the ankle,” explained Dr. Scharer.
 
Doug is no pain free, “Zero pain, I’m thrilled with the outcome,” said Doug.
 
Now Doug is doing things he couldn’t do before the fusion surgery, “Hiking in High Cliff, Dave’s Falls not just hiking  on trails but rock climbing,” said Doug happily.
 
And he’s back to his old self at work, “I’m back and I’ve heard that people recognize that I’m back to who i was  before,” said Doug.
 
Dr. Sharer is holding a seminar on treatment options for ankle pain and instability, including total ankle replacement.
 
The free seminar is August 11th at 5:30 at Aurora BayCare Orthopedic and Sports Medicine. 
 
To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com
 

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