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Joel Horn

Seattle, WA
  • Joel Horn in the photo 1
  • Joel Horn in the photo 2
  • Joel Horn in the photo 3
  • Joel Horn in the photo 4
  • Joel Horn in the photo 5

On August 19, 2015, Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch at the Hospital for Special Surgery performed a Subtalar Joint Distraction Arthroplasty on my right ankle. In plain English, he reconstructed/realigned my right ankle and used stem cells from my hip to grow 2.5mm of new cartilage between my heel and the bone just above my heel.

This surgery was needed because of a fall that I had (due to my own stupidity) while rock climbing near Pomona College in the spring of 1976. Over the forty years since the fall my right ankle got worse and worse to the point where I could not walk without significant pain, and by the spring of 2015 I was on and off crutches. I was not really sure if I would be able to walk normally again when my PT told me about this surgery. Dr. Rozbruch is a magician, kind of like "Bones" in Star Trek – and he gave me hope that I may be able to walk without pain and possibly hike again.

There have been many milestones along the way but the biggest one so far was to get to the top of my favorite hike, the Stairmaster, also known as Doublehead. It is only 2.4 miles round trip but quite steep, rising 1653’ vertical, therefore the nickname. My goal was to be able to get to the top by August 19, 2016 – the one-year anniversary of the operation. I made it to the top, with no pain, on August 13, 2016.

I just returned from a hiking trip on the Lofoten Islands in arctic Norway that would have been impossible without this surgery.

I cannot recommend Dr. Rozbruch higher... He is a 6-star ? ? ? ? ? ?on a 1-5 scale. My deepest thanks.