Sally Cratty fights aging and the joint deterioration caused by osteoarthritis with all the tools medical technology has to offer. So when she had to make a choice about how to deal with the deteriorating condition of her right ankle, she didn’t take long to decide to add a total replacement to her collection of artificial joints that already included two hips and two knees.
“I am bound and determined to remain as mobile as I possibly can through my aging process,” Cratty said. “That’s very important to me. I realize that I’m in my 70s, but I don’t think that way. I want to live an active life.”
Thanks to the artificial ankle implanted by Dr. Paul Kupcha at Christiana Care Health System’s Wilmington Hospital, Cratty has once again defied the mobility limitations imposed on her by osteoarthritis.
Nearly a year after her ankle replacement, Cratty maintains her own household, cooks for herself and spends time out on the town with friends and family. Most days, she can do all of that without the use of a cane or walker.
“I do all of the things for myself that I’ve done all my life,” Cratty said.
Cratty first began to feel pain and notice swelling in her right ankle in early 2011. After seeing Dr. Kupcha for the first time in May 2011, she knew that having the total ankle replacement was one option to fix the problem and an ankle fusion was another.
“I came home, and I thought about it and I thought about it. It got worse. Physically, I was really limping. My back was hurting. Everything was happening because my posture was terrible,” Cratty said.
After more than a month of considering her options, while the pain in her ankle worsened and her gait deteriorated to the point that falls were a serious problem, Cratty decided on the total ankle replacement and underwent surgery July 14, 2011, at Wilmington Hospital.
The surgery and physical therapy went well. A subsequent stress fracture in her right foot required another surgery to stabilize the fractured bone. Cratty completed more physical therapy after that surgery.
“From the beginning, I had a special feeling with Dr. Kupcha,” Cratty said. “I felt very confident. His approach is just so comforting and extremely knowledgeable.”
Now, nearly a year after the ankle replacement surgery, Cratty is back at home and living her life the way she wants to live it.
“I’m very happy that I went through the process,” she said. “Dr. Kupcha did beautiful work. He got me up on this ankle. I’m walking. … The happiest day of my life was when I stood up on this foot. I was just so thrilled I could do it. I have no regrets. I made the right decision.”