Ankle pain was something that at age 82, Wilbur Donley had just assumed would always be part of his life. Wilbur was very active in his youth and through adulthood until about age 55 when the chronic pain in his ankle began to prevent him from the types of sports and activities that he had always done. “I just put up with the pain”, explains Wilbur. Other body parts seemed to take precedence such as getting both knees replaced, one of which had to be replaced twice!
Over the years, the ankle pain worsened. Wilbur’s daughter in law began seeing Dr. Scott Van Aman, of the Ohio Foot and Ankle Institute at the Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence for a variety of foot related issues. Upon seeing her satisfaction with her treatment, Wilbur decided to join her at a visit and get an examination once and for all for his ankle. The news was grim: basically no cartilage left in his ankle plus significant arthritis.
“Ankle Fusion” is a surgical option for patients if motion in the ankle joint is restricted. Additionally Total Ankle Replacement, similar to total knee and hip replacement has now also proven as an alternative surgical option that provides added motion to ankle arthritis sufferers. “I felt very comfortable with Dr. Van Aman….he was not only very nice but he took the time to fully explain everything to me including the options of ankle fusion and total ankle replacement,” comments Wilbur. In the end, ankle fusion was recommended and Dr. Van Aman proceeded to fuse Wilbur’s ankle along with removing the arthritis. Merely two days after his ankle fusion, Wilbur was “pain free”. Wilbur was prescribed physical therapy and an exercise protocol that he followed which he believes enabled him to move quickly to full recovery. Within two months, Wilbur was full weight bearing and still reports no pain to this day.
Now, Wilbur feels lucky to be back on the golf course and enjoys life at home with his wife. Wilbur’s advice to anyone in a similar situation is “Why wait.” “If you don’t get the procedure done and are living with pain every day, what kind of life is that?”
Deborah LeMaster never imagined that a workplace fall 15 years ago would have left her in such a debilitated state as to not have any functional use of her left arm. But that is exactly what happened. Following her injury, Deborah went through two rounds of arthroscopic shoulder surgery with the goal of “cleaning” out her shoulder joint of any loose bodies or torn cartilage. Unfortunately, these efforts were mostly unsuccessful, and as time went on Deborah’s pain increased and her functional use of her arm decreased.
Deborah found herself being advised by different physicians and surgeons that her only hope would be a “total shoulder replacement.” This procedure is indicated for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Severe shoulder arthritis is quite painful, and can cause restriction of motion. Total shoulder replacement surgery alleviates pain by replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a metal and plastic implant. The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, much like the hip joint. The ball is the top of the arm bone (the humerus), and the socket is within the shoulder blade (scapula). This new joint allows people an increased range of motion at the shoulder with limited or eliminated pain.
Dr. Joseph Mileti, of the Ohio Joint Replacement Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence, after reviewing her MRI results explained to Deborah that her shoulder “is one of the worst shoulders I’ve seen.” Admittedly a bit strong willed, Deborah resisted this surgery for many years. “It was a trip to the Emergency Room because my pain was so bad that told me it was time,” explains Deborah. “I couldn’t hold my grandkids, I couldn’t do my hair, my shoulder was completely frozen, my muscles were atrophied, and my pain was a 10 on a scale 1 of 10….all the time!”. Fortunately, in Dr. Mileti, Deborah found “one of the kindest people I know.” Dr. Mileti performed a successful total shoulder arthroplasty in April 2007, almost 14 years after her initial injury.
Today, Deborah can’t believe she waited so long to have the procedure done. “This surgery has opened up a whole new chapter of my life”, exclaims Deborah. She explains that the surgery was not easy, nor was the rehabilitation, but she is certainly glad she finally did it. With 80% function restored in her arm and minimal pain, she now looks forward to living out the rest of her life fishing, enjoying her family, and doing all the things she couldn’t do for so very long.
When Kate Linehan began playing soccer as a youngster, she like many other young athletes, dreamt of competing at the highest level for as long as possible. Unfortunately, by the time she reached 7th grade, she became one of a vastly increasing number of young female athletes who tear their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Determined not to be defeated by her injury, Katie underwent her first ACL surgery. The first surgery seemed to be enough of a fix to get her back to soccer and she went on to play for The Ohio State University Women’s Soccer Team. It was there that her second tear occurred and she once again found herself facing the procedure that so many of her fellow teammates had also undergone.
When it came time for her second surgery, Katie chose Dr. Pete Edwards of the Ohio Riverside Sports Medicine Institute, of The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence “because of his excellent reputation in treating athletes such as herself.” Kate felt that the consistently positive feedback about Dr. Edwards she received from fellow players gave her added confidence in going through with another surgery and rehabilitation.
“Dr. Edwards went out of his way to make sure I had everything I needed from the time of my MRI until the end of my physical therapy…he was very accommodating and really seemed to care about me,” says Kate. As a graduate of The Ohio State University, Dr. Edwards continued his commitment of caring to Kate, assisting her with an internship, shadowing, and offering medical school direction. “I am proud to call Dr. Pete Edwards my surgeon and my friend”.
As both a fire fighter and triathlon competitor, Allison Wednt found her joy in maintaining a very active lifestyle both at work and at play. Determined to not let her chronic back pain prevent her from doing what she loved, she sought treatment from Dr. William Fitz, physiatrist at the Ohio Spine Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence. Several rounds of conservative treatment including lumbar epidural steroid injections afforded Allison enough relief for a couple years to continue in both work and her strenuous athletic schedule. Unfortunately as time went on, conservative efforts to treat the back pain became increasingly unsuccessful.
Taking on her own personal research along with many surgeons and specialists who advised her that her fire-fighting and triathlon days were over, Allison became more convinced than ever that there had to be another option than simply giving up on her life. Allison sought out Dr. Milan Herceg, spine surgeon of The Ohio Spine Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence. “Dr. Herceg was the first surgeon who understood t he importance of my lifestyle where others simply frowned at me,” remarks Allison. Dr. Herceg discussed a procedure called a “Discectomy” which is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord, the goal of which is to reduce or eliminate the resulting back pain. Allison explains that while she wanted to do whatever it took to get her back to her life, she also understood the risks of any surgery. After doing her own research, getting second opinions, and creating her own list of “pros versus cons”, Allison decided that the potential benefits outweighed the risks, and she opted for the surgery.
Today, Allison has returned to work as a firefighter and has even completed two iron man competitions. “Dr. Herceg gave me my life back, and I would recommend him to anyone,” exclaims Allison. “I was in pain for so long, I still wake up in the morning expecting it to be there, but I get out of bed every day and find that it is still gone!”
When father Bill Carmean, avid golfer and proud weekend warrior, discovered he had torn his ACL, among his first thoughts including what this injury meant for him, what all his option would be, were also his thoughts of his daughter Ashley, whom he lovingly refers to as “Butter.” As it turns out, Ashley was no stranger to tearing her ACL. In fact as a soccer player in her youth and then later for Indiana State University, she tore both ACL’s in addition to condyle and meniscal damage landing her in multiple surgeries. While her soccer playing days are over now, Ashley attributes her speedy recovery and fast return to play back then from the expert care and compassion of her chosen surgeon, Dr. Pete Edwards of The Ohio Riverside Sports Medicine Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence.
Fortunately for Bill, he found a real comfort in the same care and expertise of Dr. Pete Edwards.
I was tired of my pain preventing me from doing the things I had always dreamed of doing…like playing with my grandkids,” explains Janet Wright, was her main motivation behind deciding to get bilateral total knee replacements. Just over two years ago, Janet found herself being tremendously limited in her life because of the intense painful arthritis in her knees. It was the experience of having to ride a scooter while taking her grandchildren to a local theme park that told her at 55 years of age, she couldn’t live like this for the rest of her life.
A visit to her primary care physician landed Janet with a referral to Dr. Kurt Unverferth, of the Ohio Joint Replacement Institute, at the Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence. Janet’s situation was somewhat unique in that both her knees were about has severe arthritis and required a total knee replacements. Knowing ahead of time that a surgery of this nature would require a real personal commitment of both time and dedication to the rehabilitation process, Janet desired to get both knees done at the same time. At the advice of Dr. Unverferth, Janet scheduled her surgeries two weeks apart which would allow for one knee to begin healing a bit before going for her other knee.
Janet attributes her strong family support and personal commitment in getting her through the following weeks and months of rehabilitation successfully. She advises others in the same situation to be realistic and understand that the process isn’t “magic”, and that along with a successful surgery, you need to be committed to doing the therapy and exercises that are prescribed. Janet’s goal in getting surgery was “getting back to her life,”….and she did just that.
Today, Janet says “I am completely pain free!” She only wishes that she could have done this sooner. Not only has her family and personal life improved, but her work life as well. She says “it’s the little things like walking through an airport or riding on plane” that her pain prevented her from doing before…but now she’s back to her life and loving it!
It was a knee injury sustained during his service in Vietnam that caused the initial cartilage damage to Glenn’s knee. Despite a corrective surgery in Japan, Glen’s cartilage in his right knee would continue to deteriorate as the years progressed. The final realization as to the extent of the damage in his knee came in 2006 when five consecutive years of conservative treatment including pain medicine and knee injections began to stop working.
Like many people, Glenn loves the outdoors. In the past, he would often be found escaping to Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the warmth and openness of the desert. At home in Ohio, Glen enjoys walking, gardening, filling the many birdfeeders on his property, and most especially time spent being active with his grown children. Unfortunately the pain in his knee over the last few years had worsened to a level that prevented Glen from walking or even bending which meant he was unable to do so many of the things that brought him joy in life.
A self admitted skeptic of surgery, he says “I didn’t know anyone who had this done personally. I hate pain and was nervous about a surgery like this.” Glenn was apprehensive about the thought of a total joint replacement even though his primary care physician felt it was really the best option for him. After conducting his own personal research, he was recommended by friends and physicians to visit Dr. Michael McShane of the Ohio Joint Replacement Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence. Upon viewing MRI results, the reason for Glenn’s constant and intense pain became very clear…there was no cartilage left in his right knee!
Today, only 2 months after undergoing a total knee replacement, Glenn can’t believe he didn’t do it sooner. With an exceptional recovery, Glenn attributes his success to “doing everything they told me to do”. He attended the total joint education class as well as the recommended physical therapy prior to surgery which helped prepare his flexibility and strength. Just 2 short weeks after his surgery, Glenn’s range of motion had returned a full 120%! “Am I happy? Yes!” says Glenn. “I was smart and didn’t push myself too hard during recover, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.” In addition to being back to enjoying his life, pain free, Glenn has appreciated the added benefits of his prior back pain also dissipating.
Glen hopes that sharing his story with others will help them to realize what he does now…that you don’t have to live with the pain of osteoarthritis.
It was the little things in life, such as walking to the mailbox and getting around her home that Phyllis Moore began to miss when the chronic low back pain she had been suffering from for many years started becoming debilitating severe. At the recommendation of her primary care physician, Phyllis sought the help of Dr .Nancy Vaughan of the Ohio Spine Institute at The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence. Dr. Vaughan is a physiatrist or physical medicine and rehabilitation physician specializing in conservative and alternative treatments for both acute and chronic pain. “I was immediately impressed with Dr. Vaughan’s attitude and very thorough explanation of my options”, says Phyllis.
Weighing options such as injections, Phyllis understood there was a risk of failure, but felt the potential benefits clearly outweighed the risks, her pain was simply too severe to ignore any longer. Phyllis proceeded with a series of three steroid injections into the vertebral space between her 4th and 5th vertebrae, but with very little pain relief as a result. “By the time we got through the third injection, I could feel some relief, but not nearly enough,” Phyllis explains. At that time, Dr. Vaughan decided to turn the focus away from the disc problem, and focus on the spinal arthritis in the joint surrounding the disc that could have been either a source or a contributor to the pain. With Phyllis’ approval, Dr. Vaughan proceeded with a “Lumbar Facet Joint Injection.” This procedure works by placing numbing medicine into the joint itself which can not only help diagnose the joint as a possible source of pain, but additionally, the temporary relief of the numbing medicine may better allow a chiropractor or physical therapist to treat that joint. Also, time release cortisone will help to reduce any inflammation that may exist within the joint(s).
Within 2 to 3 days, Phyllis was back to walking around and feeling overall a lot better. “I am continuing with physical therapy with a pain medication regiment but am finally able to be on my feet walking around and that feels much better,” says Phyllis. “I am absolutely amazed at the facility, the genuine caring and friendliness from the staff, and all the different options for people with orthopedic problems they have in one place.” While Phyllis knows there is a possibility of her pain returning, she explains that her expectations were definitely met and she appreciates how much Dr. Vaughan truly cared for her.