Arnie's Story

“I've elk hunted in Colorado every year since my ankle replacements. If I hadn't had them replaced, I wouldn't be able to walk.”

Hunter outfitted with new ankles

“I stepped on a mine and it tore up my ankle,” recalls Arnie Berscheid of Grey Eagle, a Marine in the Vietnam War. Years of arthritis became worse and walking was painful. “My toes were dragging because my ligaments were all torn.” Arnie knew that he had to do something.

His left ankle was replaced at St. Cloud Hospital by Stephen Mariash, DPM, a podiatrist with St. Cloud Orthopedics.

Arnie’s main concern was getting back to hunting. “When I had my replacement, I was worried how I’d make the climb and then carry out an elk.”

Nearly 10 years later, Arnie’s other ankle was showing wear and tear from compensating for the injured ankle. Arnie had the right ankle replaced by the same surgeon.

Arnie can tell you how medical technology has changed from the first replacement to his most recent surgery. “For my first one I was on crutches for three months. After my second one I was walking on it, in a boot, in ten days.” The replacements have provided Arnie with more strength and better range of motion.

“I’ve elk hunted in Colorado every year since my ankle replacements. If I didn’t have them replaced, I wouldn’t be able to walk,” said Arnie.

About total ankle replacements

Total ankle replacement has been possible for more than 30 years, but enhanced implants are making the procedure more popular. Few surgeons are trained in this technique.

“This procedure, performed at St. Cloud Hospital Bone & Joint Center, gives patients with ankle arthritis another option other than fusing the ankle,” said Stephen Mariash, DPM, St. Cloud Orthopedics. “The newer implants help provide a faster recovery and increased range-of-motion which has improved the quality of life for many patients. The goal is to improve ankle motion and reduce pain.”

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis usually are good candidates for the ankle joint replacement. The goal is to improve ankle motions and reduce pain. This procedure is not right for patients with poor circulation or loss of sensation or in the presence of infection.

For more information, talk to a foot and ankle specialist at St. Cloud Orthopedics by calling 320-255-5606.