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Curt Johnson

Waldwick, NJ

How do you get back in the game when you have been sidelined for 20 plus years? You go to HSS and sit down with Dr Fragomen so he can explain a surgery that most people have never heard of. You ponder for a while and say "Wait, you can create cartilage in an ankle joint that doesn't have any?!?" You then hear the answer and at that point put 100% of your trust in Dr. Fragomen and the ankle distraction surgery.

My story begins like many others, I was suffering from an injury which occurred in the past. The main issue was that I was living with severe arthritis in the ankle stemming from an original injury which occurred many moons ago. My injury was a dislocation with three fractures in my right ankle. After the original surgery I felt like Humpty Dumpty, the doctors had to put a plate and 7 screws into the ankle just to hold things together. They then explained I could expect to have arthritis within 5 years. Those doctors were correct, unfortunately there was nothing that could be done outside of accepting my fate based off the injury. I thought the rest of my life would involve walking with a limp, in pain, and wondering when technology would someday fix the past.

This all changed after that original conversation with Dr Fragomen. He explained all the steps involved with the ankle distraction procedure in laymen terms. What to expect, how long it would take and was readily available to answer any additional question I could think of.

Instead of speaking about the surgery or the recovery process I will fast forward to today. Here I am 2 years after having the surgery and I'm no longer watching life pass me by. I don't tell myself it would be nice if I could do this or that. Rather I just keep setting new goals for where I can go.

First goal was to just walk without pain, check. Limp, gone. Walk a round of golf carrying a bag, check. Skiing, check. How about riding in a 40 mile bike race around NYC's five Boro's and you don't own a bike. You go get one, so you can check that off the list too. Then you continue riding doing more miles and continue to accumulate close to 750 of them in a year. I just keep setting new goals, achieving them and then setting the bar higher for the next time - all pain free.

Thank you Dr. Fragomen, your staff and everyone at HSS. Being on the field and playing the game is such a better position then watching from the bench.