In January 2010 Mark Herron carried out an arthroscopic ankle fusion on my right ankle. It is delightful to be able to undertake a level of activity now which the ankle had previously prevented. Ski holiday booked - now I just need to find the boots.
Thankyou for making this all possible!
I attach a summary, week by week for the first 25 weeks, with broad indications for the 2 months that follow:
Week 1 - Walk around the house
Week 2 - Start to go out, limited walking
Week 3 - 2 walks, 1 about 15 minutes and 1 about 30 minutes (latter too long)
Week 4 - More short walks - up to 20 minutes each
Week 5 - 3 walks up to 30 minutes each
Week 6 - Start to use 1 crutch in house occasionally. Picked up a virus
Week 7 - Virus prevented any activity. Given OK to abandon crutches gradually
Week 8 - Inactive due to virus
Week 9 - Walk 60 minutes on crutches
Week 10 - Walk 80 minutes (walking poles, not crutches), some gardening
Week 11 - 6 walks, 6 miles in total
Week 12 - Cycled 3 times, total 28 miles, what freedom. Also walked 7 miles
Week 13 - Cycled 11 miles, walked 8 miles
Week 14 - Cycled twice 18 miles. Walked 4 miles. Boot off, celebrate
Week 15 - Walked 10 miles total
Week 16 - 6 walks, 11 miles. Cycled twice total 20 miles
Week 17 - 6 walks, 13 miles. Cycled once 20 miles
Week 18 - 8 walks, 16 miles. Cycled once 20 miles
Week 19 - 7 walks, 12 miles
Week 20 - First orienteering event. Cycled twice 22 miles. Walked 6 miles 2 hours
Week 21 - Cycled 12 miles, walked 3 miles. Too much last week!
Week 22 - Walked 3 hours, 8 miles
Week 23 - Walked 31 miles in hilly terrain, 8 walks
Week 24 - Walked 7 times, 10 miles total
Week 25 - Cycled 3 times, 40 miles total. Walked 7 times, 7 miles
In July I took up golf lessons so less walking and cycling. In August I climbed Coniston Old Man 6 miles and 2500 feet of ascent. Four orienteering events in 6 days of challenging terrain.
Date of surgery : 13th January 2010
Date crutches abandoned: 26th February 2010 (on a phased basis)
Date boot removed: 9th April 2010
I first met Mark Herron in May 2010 having suffered for many years with severe ankle pain. At my first appointment Mr Herron completed tests and x-rays and diagnosed a problem with my subtalar joints.
From the outset Mark Herron explained the treatment options and operated two weeks later at the Priory Hospital in Birmingham. I was impressed throughout by Mr Herrons caring attitude and how well he kept me informed at all stages. Following a short stay at the Priory Hospital I spent 4 weeks in plaster before being fitted with an Aircast boot.
Now I am pain free and for the first time in many years I am able to enjoy long walks and take part in exercise. I cannot thank Mark Herron enough for the excellent care I received and the beneficial results achieved. I am so pleased with the results that I have arranged to see him again to treat my other ankle.
I am a 69 year old and still fit and active thanks to the skill of Mark Herron. My right ankle was becoming increasingly disabled through osteoarthritis and my ability to run and even walk was diminishing and my horizons were shrinking and my frustration increasing. I had seen surgeons through the NHS who offered a variety of solutions over a 5 year period, and frankly I always chose the "do nothing" option because I was afraid things would go wrong or infection would be acquired. At Easter 2009 I was orienteering in Northumberland when I came across a fellow orienteer who was on crutches and in an "Aircast boot". He had recently had an ankle fused and gave me the name of Mark Herron. I followed the orienteers progress through the year and was eventually satisfied that what had been done for him would probably work for me with a good outcome.
Late in 2009 I met Mark Herron and felt very confident in his ability to get me back into a more active life. Given that my other ankle is already showing signs of osteoarthritis he checked it out to ensure that the treatment for the worst ankle would be consistent with my long term needs overall. He offered fusion rather than ankle replacement on the basis that with the active lifestyle I was living and intended to live more vigorously in future, I would be likely to wear out a replacement whereas the fusion is for life.
I had the operation in January 2010 and the recovery period was tedious at the time but it led to a good fusion. I recall that at the 12 week "boot off" stage he suggested I might start a little very gentle cycling on a static bike - but I had already been out on my mountain bike three times with the boot on for about 10 minutes each time - but no damage had been caused. I had been walking as much as I could initially on the crutches but later unaided.
At the Foot and Ankle Clinic I was always treated with the utmost courtesy and treated as a person with an ankle issue and not a patient. Every question was fully answered and the level of reassurance was significant and personal. The short stay in hospital was much better than I had feared and I was well looked after and was pleased to find a wine list available with the menu options.
Now nearly 18 months after the procedure my full range of abilities has been restored and I can walk further than for some years, have been skiing , climbed mountains and improved orienteering. I have even added golf to the activity list - which would not have been a comfortable option previously. With all I have achieved the other ankle is now complaining! I will know where to go to get that fixed when the time comes.
I had my complex ankle fusion operation performed by Mark Herron at the Foot and Ankle Clinic in Edgbaston in October 2006. I had spent over a year putting this off as other surgeons had left me with a feeling that an open procedure was a major operation and that whilst the arthritic pain would be gone my future mobility was not guaranteed. Indeed I was told that there was no chance of me being able to run again which was very difficult news for a sportsman such as myself.
My first consultation with Mr Mark Herron easily convinced me that I should entrust my ankle operation to him. Not only did he discuss things with me as a person rather than a human with a bad ankle but he explained that he could do the procedure via arthroscopy rather than open surgery thus reducing the recovery time. The staff at the Clinic were excellent and the operation went well and I was soon up and about in an Aircast boot which gave me good mobility.
It was hard to stop myself wanting to do things too quickly during the recovery process but you cannot rush it. However I am now back at the gym, run 5K regularly and play golf as often as I can, not bad for 57, even without an ankle fusion.
Mr J Barnes
If you wish to learn more about Mark Herron please select the phrase and the link will take you straight to the relevant section within the site.
I am a 66 year old male who has valued being physically active all my life. I took up running in my late twenties and have enjoyed fell running and orienteering as well as hill walking. A couple of years ago a twinge in my ankle developed into constant pain such that I had to give up running although cycling was still o.k. During 2008 deterioration continued and I was walking in discomfort and with a bad limp. I suddenly felt like an old man. My G.P. diagnosed arthritis as the problem suggesting an ankle fusion as a solution and he made an appointment to see a specialist at a local hospital though I had to wait 3 months for this. The arthritis was confirmed and an open surgery fusion was offered. I was hesitant about this being aware of infection issues given that my problem was not life threatening – just life inhibiting. I did come away with a website link to the Priory and Mr Mark Herron’s consultancy however which immediately inspired confidence. I got a quick consultation with Mr Herron who empathised with my plight and assured me that an arthroscopic fusion would be the best option for regaining an active lifestyle, so I immediately booked an operation date.
I had my operation early in February 2009 at the Priory and I have no hesitation in saying that the whole experience was easier than I had anticipated. Mr Mark Herron and his anaesthetist were reassuring in their friendly professionalism. Post - operative care by Priory staff was excellent and after two nights I was discharged.
Living with an Aircast boot and crutches for a few months is not ideal but one adjusts and tries to be patient with anticipation of a positive outcome. I came out of my boot and was discharged by Mr Mark Herron on 1st May. It took a few weeks to get walking comfortably again due to my foot operating in a different way. A holiday in Scotland encouraged me to try a few walks of up to 5 miles and the foot ache gradually subsided. At the end of June I was confident enough to climb Snowdon. I experienced no ankle pain but a little swelling the day after – which did not last. Over the summer I have completed four orienteering events on rough terrain with no ankle problems whatsoever. I have even started (slowly) to run again. So all in all I am really pleased I bit the bullet and went for the ankle fusion operation. I suspect that the procedure undertaken by Mr Mark Herron and his team at the Priory Hospital Birmingham would take some beating.
Mr N Forrest
I can honestly admit I was more than a little concerned with the prospect of undergoing surgery on, by now my very degraded and painful ankle.
My options were fully explained and after careful consideration I finally requested the fusion procedure. Mr Mark Herron fully kept me up to date with all details and what to expect; even to the extent of showing me videos of previous patients walking after the operation.
After the operation in 2005 I experienced some discomfort for approx 6 weeks, but always thought that my ankle movement would be greatly restricted, resulting in curtailing my two main passions; motorcycling and my local gym. It could not have been further from the truth, as virtually full movement had been achieved and gymnasium and motorcycle activities are back to normal.
I do not limp when walking and still manage to run on occasions. I have experienced no adverse effects from the operation and have not missed out on any of my previous activities.
Overall, the operation, pre and after care was a complete success and I must fully endorse this procedure.
Mr T Solomon
I attended the Foot and Ankle Clinic several times and felt the Clinic to be efficient and well run. The staff where friendly and reassuring and there was the use of the lifts and a wheelchair if needed. The Clinic is second to none.
My surgery has been a great success. I spent approximately threes months post op wearing an Aircast boot, which was comfortable and could be removed for showering etc.
I had regular checkups afterwards to make sure bone was forming to fuse the ankle. Going across to the x-ray department was always quick and efficient. Mr Mark Herron always explained things to me clearly throughout the process.
Finally I would like to say that my ankle fusion has turned my life around. Beforehand I was in much pain when weight bearing and I am now completely pain free. I am able to walk for miles again, including over rugged ground. I regularly cycle and ride my horse without limitations. I walk perfectly normally and no-one would be aware that I have had an ankle fusion.
Mrs S Rollo
It is with pleasure I write this testimonial to the Foot and Ankle Clinic. The experience has helped me turn my life around. I am now able to enjoy my life on the golf course playing twice weekly.
The Foot and Ankle Clinic was first class with very helpful and friendly staff in all departments.
The surgery was again excellent - over and done before I realised it and now bearly noticeable.
I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone (and I have done) to the Foot and Ankle Clinic.
Thank you most sincerely for what you were able to do for me.
Wishing you all the best for the future.
Mr G Hilditch
I would like to update you on my progress after the two operation that you performed on both my ankles last year 2007. I had advanced osteoarthritis in both ankles and was becoming increasingly less mobile and more overweight. I came to your consultancy rooms at the Priory Hospital Birmingham in April 2007. At that time you examined me and estimated my walking time at 5 minutes.
On the 16th May 2007 I had my first operation which was a fusion of my left ankle and sub-talar joints this was a great success and I left hospital after 3 days.
On the 24th October 2007 I had my second operation under Mr Mark Herron, which was a fusion of my right ankle. This again was a success and I left the hospital after only 2 days.
The situation now is that I am completing bicycle rides in excess of 25 miles and have just completed a 6.5 mile walk (new personal record). I go from strength to strength on a daily basis and I am looking forward to completing a 10 mile walk in September for the Heart Foundation.
These two operations have transformed my life for which I will be eternally grateful to the Priory Hospital, its staff and especially to Mr Mark Herron for accepting me as a patient and using his unbelievable skill to return me to a mobility situation that I have not enjoyed for almost 20 years.
If any future patients should consider the same treatment and are somewhat apprehensive, I suggest they be referred to the excellent and informative Foot and Ankle Clinic. I found this most useful as it gave me the opportunity to understand my problem, the surgery and to ask the right questions.
Finally at 64 years old this year I walk without pain, I have no walking aids and I walk in the same types of shoes (off the shelf) as I did before my problems began many years before.
Once again I am eternally grateful for your skill and dedication to people who suffer from the terrible pain of osteoarthritis.
Mr D Young
My experience of the Foot and Ankle Clinic is that it is professionally and efficiently run. I felt at ease and a real person in pleasant surroundings. Knowledgeable, concerned staff that cared what happened to me was also my experience.
The ankle fusion surgery at the Foot and Ankle Clinic was successful and remedied the faults with my ankle. After being unable to walk unaided for 14 months my quality of life has practically returned to normal. Followup treatment was also very good with no stone left unturned. An example of this was a query DVT which was immediately checked and reported back on. Again very good supportive nursing staff in attendance.
Physiotherapy and occupational therapy treatment was particularly good both before and after my ankle fusion surgery. The staff completely put my mind at ease and answered all necessary and possibly unnecessary questions I put to them.
Mrs Y Ogden
I had many years of pain and increasing difficulty walking following osteoarthritis as a child.
In July 2008 Mr Mark Herron used two titanium screws to fuse my ankle using arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery.
The pre and post operative care was excellent and also my stay in hospital.
You have to be a patient patient as anything orthopaedic is a long business but worth it in the end.
Mrs S Moffett
If you wish to learn more about Ankle Fusion please select the phrase and the link will take you straight to the relevant section within the website.