My Left Ankle (Percentages)

I can remember having two of them. Not two left ankless Two ankles, a pair. A left and a right with a matching set of feet and legs. One hundred percent proclaimed the doctor slapping my bottom. But now, with one foot in the grave, I only have one ankle left, (the right) 50% sub-optimal. The prosthetic on my left below the knee is cumbersome, and I can walk, but it has no ankle – real, imagined or manufactured.  And get this – No Pain!! I’m in the small 30% of amputees that suffer no phantom pain.

My diagnosis was Stage Four Flat Foot, all soft tissue given up on holding my ankle up and it was caving, producing a high level of pain. “Lousy cartilage genetics,” said my specialist. Arthritis in most of my joints.

My orthopedic foot surgeon suggested my right ankle was in worse shape than my left when I had two of them. I suggested that it was the left one that hurt a lot on a scale of one to 10. He did his best with an ankle fusion which was following a foot fusion which had been successful.

A year and a half after the surgery he looked at a CT scan and when he looked more closely, he had to admit that there was only 25% (at most) fusion that happened with my left ankle. I was only my surgeon’s third fail out of 300. I was in the one percent.  I was lucky though in the percentages for phantom pain. Apparently, amputees, 70% of amputees, have phantom pain or polyneuropathic pain in the limb they don’t even have anymore.

The surgeon offered to try another ankle fusion.  My left ankle, by this time, had been messed up badly enough that ankle replacement was not on the menu. Plus, I was overweight and the wrong age. I said no, let’s just cut it off. I let him keep my left leg from below the knee, my failed ankle used for prosection educating his students.






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