Bill Chandler knows a thing or two about arthritis. Following an injury- his ankles didn’t bounce back.
“I tore two ligaments in my ankle playing tennis. When they x-rayed it, I knew I had arthritis in both of them. Bone on bone and over a period of time it just got worse and worse and worse,” says Bill Chandler.
Pain rarely slows Bill down, but when his ankles wouldn’t flex, it stopped him in his tracks.
“I couldn’t walk. I actually couldn’t control the muscles enough,” says Chandler.
He weighed his options - and landed on ankle replacement surgery.
“Ankle replacements have actually been around for quite some time but the first generations of the implants were rudimentary and didn’t work very well. Since that time the implants have improved and the techniques that we put we utilize to put the actual replacement in has markedly improved. So it’s become a very viable option for a lot of patients,” says Dr. George Markovich, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The ankle replacement works similar to a hip or knee replacement. Only the anatomy is different. This procedure requires doctors to get accurate alignment and operate in a small space.
“You align it through the heel. You make the cuts and then you have some space to work with within the joint,” says Markovich.
In replacement surgery the damaged bones are shaved and capped, an artificial joint goes between them.
“You actually construct the implant within the joint and push it up on either side and then put the plastic sandwich in-between. When you’re done the results can be very, very good,” says Dr. Markovich.
Chandler has twice the experience. Having surgery on both ankles. Each one taking 8 weeks to heal.
“I used to walk, playing golf maybe 3-4 days a week so that’s what I’d like to get back to. Be able to walk as far as I want to walk,” says Chandler.
His second ankle now in the last stage of recovery, Chandler is back on his feet.