HealthWatch: Heel fracture surgery

HealthWatch- Heel fracture surgery_86136514-159532
Green Bay (WFRV) Traditional surgery for a severe fracture to an ankle can leave patients laid up for months~ leaving some with permanent problems walking.  But there is a minimally invasive option to traditional surgery that can help patients recover faster.
Josh Toneys suffered a life changing injury- that could have left him disabled. But a minimally invasive surgery got him back on his feet quicker and with a better recovery outlook.
Josh does not take walking for granted, “I’m able to walk, on a normal day I’m walking six to seven miles,” Josh Toneys, fractured ankle patient.
In January the construction worker was on scaffolding eight feet up when suddenly, “Lost my balance and fell onto concrete,” explained Josh.
Josh landed on his heel- then tried to stand, “I almost felt there were pieces inside the foot, I immediately fell back down,” said Josh.
Josh turned to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mike Schnaubelt at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “Josh had a severe fracture of his calcaneus which is the heel bone,” said  Mike Schnaubelt, orthopedic surgeon, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
Dr. Schnaubelt  says the outlook for recovery isn’t good with this type of injury, “There are some folks that can’t walk for very long or stand for very long,” explained Dr. Schnaubelt.
Josh was worried, “He said construction is no longer in your future.”
And for a father of two and a runner, “I was terrified. It was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Josh.
Dr. Schnaubelt performed surgery using a minimally invasive incision technique which is not widely used in our area, “Which is basically a more limited incision right below the lateral malleolus which is the outside bump on the outside of the ankle,” explained Dr. Schnaubelt.
The traditional approach leaves a larger cut all the way around the ankle to the bone. And is more invasive, “Very disruptive approach to the anatomy and there are very significant issues with healing there is about a 40 percent complication rate with that type of approach,” explained Dr. Schnaubelt.
Because Josh’s incision is smaller it heals faster, “It’s a limited incision, limited dissection and I think that’s what has enabled him to do as well as he has,” said Dr. Schnaubelt.
It also uses less hardware- big plates are replaced with screws, “So the bone does tend to heal quicker,” said Dr. Schnaubelt.
Josh’s recovery has been on the fast track, “Josh is doing fantastic right now, he is about as well recovered as I’ve seen for this type of procedure,” explained Dr. Schnaubelt.
While he won’t be a runner again- Josh is looking forward to being active with his kids, “Playing with my kids which is the most important to me taking walks with them,” said Josh.
Josh is getting out of construction and going back to managing a lodging facility. 
To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email 

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