After more than four years of constant pain in his ankle, Ronald Lagasse, 63, is finally pain-free thanks to a bilateral ankle replacement by surgeon Dr. Stephen Rogers from the Foot & Ankle Institute of New England.
For years, Lagasse was searching for a cure from the constant “shooting, sharp pain” in both his right and left ankles. He tried braces, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots, but time and time again the treatments failed.
The pain in his right ankle started not long after his 50th birthday, but as an “active guy” Lagasse was used to a few aches and pains here and there.
“This ankle was something that just never resolved itself. It kept getting worse; it began limiting my activities. I love to hike, but it was a struggle just to bring the garbage cans down the driveway,” he said.
He had chalked it up to getting older, but then his left ankle began hurting and quickly caught up to the pain levels of his right, like “someone had flipped a switch.” He said it was similar to a “constant toothache” without any way to relieve the sharp pain.
Lagasse had asked about replacements, something similar to knee or hip ones, but his previous orthopedic had said that type of surgery wasn’t available. Then, eight months later, after being referred to Rogers at the Foot & Ankle Institute, he was having his first ankle replaced.
Rogers, who received his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, said that the technology for ankle replacements has actually been around for roughly 40 years, while the new technique and higher quality custom replacements have been around for about six.
“Most people don’t even know this procedure is available,” Rogers said. “The ankle is a rigid, sound and mobile structure. That’s why when it is injured it can be devastating.”
Rogers explained that Lagasse’s cartilage in both his ankles was completely deteriorated, to a point that he was near complete immobility of his ankles. His bone was grinding on bone. Similarly, his bones had shifted so they were angular to each other rather than flat, only increasing the problem. Rogers compared it to a door that has fallen off its hinges and keeps getting opened and closed.
In March 2014, Lagasse had his right ankle replaced and then the left in February 2015. More than a year after recovery Lagasse is pain-free.
The surgery itself takes about two to 2½ hours, and then Lagasse underwent extensive physical therapy for about three months after surgery.
Lagasse said that the surgeries have completely changed his life.
“After more than four years of every footfall being painful my quality of life had really suffered. I couldn’t do the things I loved anymore. Now I am back to my old way of life. I’m back to taking nature walks with my wife, I can walk along the beach. I’m not running a marathon, but I can play a little basketball with my 12-year-old grandson. The relief is amazing.
For more information on the Foot & Ankle Institute of NEW England visit their website www.newenglandfoot.com. They have three locations in southeastern New England, One in Warwick, Middletown and Fall River Massachusetts.