I Am a Walking Miracle!
When Saundra Stapp fractured her ankle 30 years ago, it was surgically repaired using pins and screws. But over time, she developed post-traumatic arthritis. When her pain became unbearable and she could barely walk, she was referred to Foot and Ankle Surgeon, C. Craig Cranford, DPM, AACFAS at Texoma Medical Center.
“Other doctors told me to have my ankle fused, but if I did that, I would not be able to move it. I didn’t want to settle for that,” says Saundra. After meeting with Dr. Cranford, he felt she would be a good candidate for a total ankle replacement. “Dr. Cranford discussed everything he was going to do, showed me a model and asked me if I wanted to go through with it. I answered with a resounding, ‘Yes!’ and we scheduled the surgery,” says Saundra.
“When Saundra came to see me, she was in extreme pain because the cartilage was gone and she had bone-on-bone contact,” says Dr. Cranford. “She was a good candidate for a total ankle replacement, and I am proud to say she was the first patient to have this procedure at TMC, and the first in the Texoma region.”
Dr. Cranford explains the total ankle replacement is similar to a knee replacement, except the ankle is more complicated because it is load-bearing. “We use an implant with a CT scan-driven software program. It helps to create an anatomically aligned and custom- sized implant for each patient. This also increases the lifespan of the implant,” says Dr. Cranford. He adds that if a patient had an ankle fusion in the past, the software guides him to remove it before the ankle replacement. “It’s pretty remarkable,” he says.
Saundra attended TMC’s Joint Camp before the procedure to help prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for her ankle replacement on December 4, 2015. She stayed one day in the hospital following her surgery before being discharged. “It is such a feeling of freedom to be able to walk without debilitating pain.”
Saundra is grateful to Dr. Cranford and the medical staff who cared for her before, during and after her surgery. “I had a great experience, but I knew I would because TMC is my hospital and I have been there several times before. I have come to expect great service, and they did not disappoint. The nurses and doctors listened to learn what my needs were, and that is important. There are other hospitals nearby, but I choose TMC,” she says.
Dr. Cranford says it can take six months to a year to adjust with the new joint, and Saundra is doing well. “Total ankle replacement is an option that can give the patient functionality and allow them to get back to enjoying life,” he says.