Diane Aromando - Arthroscopic Surgery of the Ankle

patient after arthroscopic surgery of the ankle52-year-old Diane Aromando is an athlete at heart. A physical education major who played college and intramural soccer, as well as field hockey and softball and a variety of other sports, Aromando wasn’t about to stop playing sports when she graduated. “I played competitive soccer in adult leagues around St. Louis,” she says. “Every so often, my left ankle would lock up and hurt and I’d be on the sidelines, but I didn’t want to deal with the problem until it became severe.” In her 40s, she decided her ankle “hurt more than it didn’t.” She stopped playing soccer and sought out an orthopedist who could lessen the pain. “I was told that all my cartilage was gone and I was a candidate for either total joint replacement or arthrodesis (fusion).” But with ankle joint replacement tricky and fusion too radical for her active lifestyle, Aromando turned to Washington University Orthopedics for another alternative.

“Ms. Aromando was suffering from long-standing and repetitive injuries to the ankle, including sprains which led to the collapse of the talar dome, which is part of the three bones that make up the ankle joint,” says Jeffrey Johnson, MD, Chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Washington University Orthopedics. “She had been using a foot brace to alleviate the pain but her condition worsened over time.”

Aromando first underwent arthroscopic surgery to correct a bone spur and “clean up” cartilage debris in her ankle. Then, in March 2005, she became one of the first patients with Washington University Orthopedics to undergo a bone allograft—a bone transplant using cadaver bone—to replace the talus bone in the front of her ankle that had collapsed. “It’s not common to do a tissue transplant in a foot or ankle,” says Dr. Johnson. “But Ms. Aromando was too young to be considered for a total joint replacement and she was simply too active to consider any type of arthrodesis. The allograft was a way to repair her foot while maintaining her range of motion.”

Dr. Johnson also re-aligned Aromando’s tibia to correct the angle of her foot. After months of therapy and a final surgery to remove some surgical plates and hardware, Aromando is now looking to play softball with her friends in an adult softball league. “It’s a league for us ‘seniors,’” she laughs. “But I’m good to go, so why not? Let’s play ball!”


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