For 14 months, Rosie Moher lived with severe pain in her right ankle. “That limited me going to parks, going for long walks anywhere, I really couldn’t exercise.”
She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, something doctors say is a common cause for an ankle replacement surgery. “It got worse and worse to the point I could not walk on it. I was limping badly,” said Moher.
Dr. Jeremy Schwartz, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Health, says that’s because the cartilage between the two bones was gone. “The space in the x-ray is actually representing the cartilage, and the cartilage is what caps your bone and that’s what is responsible for smooth gliding joints,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Rosie qualified for an ankle replacement surgery.
“An ankle replacement surgery is actually similar to a knee or hip replacement. We actually remove the arthritis from the ankle and replace it with plastic or metal,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Unlike hip and knee replacements, ankle replacements are custom made for the patient. “We have what’s called a cutting guide and that helps us align the cut where we would put the ankle replacement. We cut the edge of the bone and we resurface it with metal and plastic and that allows it to move without pain,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Weeks after surgery, Rosie was able to walk normally. “I can walk downstairs normal, whereas I used to have to walk down sideways. I can bend the ankle. I’m just amazed at the recovery and the ability of what I’m able to do with it,” said Moher.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.