Bill R. of Greybull, Wyoming, was dealing with chronic ankle pain due to arthritis for several years. He managed the pain with medication for some time, later being treated with steroid shots that provided temporary relief.
“I didn’t like the idea of continual medication,” said Bill, who also went on to use a custom ankle brace. As a wildlife conservation officer, Bill’s job required being active outdoors, with plenty of uneven terrain and varied weather and topography, so his ankle was making his work much more difficult. Eventually, Bill decided that surgery would be a viable option.
“I had talked with other doctors in other areas, and I had a contact in Casper that recommended me to Dr. Eric Linford, and I researched him a little bit,” recalled Bill. “I decided to go down and meet with him, and he helped me through quite a bit of the process to get to the point of deciding to have surgery.
“When I was at Casper Orthopedics, I had plenty of questions, and [Dr. Linford] gave me the time that I needed to ask the questions. He gave me the information that I needed to make a decision, and he didn’t pressure me,” Bill explained. “He was square with me about what the ramifications were on surgery and what exactly was going to happen, and the staff there at Casper Orthopedics were great to work with.”
With a treatment plan in place with fellowship-trained foot and ankle specialist Dr. Linford at Casper Orthopedics, Bill underwent a total ankle replacement surgery in the spring of 2018.
“There’s still some flexibility issues, but I’m glad I had my surgery because the options were to have a lot less mobility. It increased my mobility quite a bit,” Bill added. “It’s not the same as my good ankle, but the pain is not there, and while my flexibility is not the same, that is something I can manage with my lifestyle.”
Bill’s initial stages of recovery took about six months. This included using a scooter for eight weeks followed by using a walking boot. As Bill and his body got used to the new ankle, Bill developed a pronation issue with his foot, which Dr. Linford corrected through an additional surgery. Bill also used a walking stick and a cane at times to aid stability, but he no longer needs to use one. Today, he is still vigilant about maintaining his flexibility and continues exercises at home to keep it.
“Dr. Linford is approachable, and he’s a surgeon—that’s what he does,” Bill said. “He doesn’t heal you; he corrects some issues, and it’s kind of up to you to work with those corrections.”
Now retired and 62, Bill is still getting outdoors and staying active. “I returned to doing 80 percent of what I used to do. There are some things I know that I want to try, and I keep trying,” he said. “The speed and the ability to react to change in terrain has changed quite a bit, so I have to be a lot more purposeful in how I spend my time outside.”
“After two years, I think my ankle is really strong and the joint is strong. I was hiking with assistance within two months of my replacement surgery, but there are some issues you have to learn to adapt to,” said Bill. “I’ve still set goals for myself to try to push myself to try to get into doing the outdoor recreation that I used to do. I go hunting, I go hiking, and I go fishing.”
For area residents like Bill with foot or ankle issues getting in their way, Dr. Linford provides modern, evidence-based solutions with each patient’s lifestyle and goals at the forefront of the treatment process.
If you’re experiencing pain or limitation related to your foot or ankle, Dr. Linford can help you get back on your feet. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Linford in Casper or Douglas, by calling (307) 265-7205 or (888) 317-2343 or request an appointment online.