In the fall of 2012, style expert Alison Skogen was walking down the stairs in her home. Suddenly, her ankle gave way and she fell, landing face down. She heard a pop, and knew instantly that she broke her ankle.
A few days after her injury, Alison underwent surgery to stabilize her fracture. Laura M. Bruse Gehrig, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Sanford Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Bismarck, ND, inserted a plate and screws, which allowed Alison's bones to heal.
Alison has suffered for years with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease characterized by painful skin rashes. She has psoriatic inflammation on the bottoms of her feet, which can cause pain while walking. Although her psoriasis is controlled by mediation and UV light, there is greater risk for patients with psoriasis to undergo surgery, especially if they have lesions or skin issues.
Two months after her surgery, Alison started walking with a boot. Under the guidance of Dr. Bruse Gehrig, Alison did her own physical therapy, slowly and steadily rebuilding the strength in her ankle. With the aid of her dermatologist, she worked diligently to maintain control of her psoriasis, as not to have to endure a recurrence of the condition while her ankle was healing.
By January of 2013, Alison was back to a fairly normal routine. "My ankle is as perfect as possible, considering the injury, surgery, and therapy," she says. "Dr. Laura was demanding in her instructions. It was to my benefit to follow them; the outcome wouldn't be what it was if I hadn't."
Alison enjoys the arts and loves to sing and do crafts. She hopes to continue to do her hobbies and walk for exercise. She listens to her body and wears an ankle brace if needed. "I'm living my life as before with virtually no restrictions."
Due to her age and some of the medications she is taking for her psoriasis, Alison is at risk for developing osteoporosis, a degenerative disease which causes bone loss and an increased possibility of fractures. Osteoporosis is a significant public health problem, which affects over 44 million Americans and is responsible for two million fractures annually.
"Orthopaedics is ever-evolving; we see this in the strides made to help our veterans and in helping folks like me," Alison says. "Research dollars are critical to improve surgeries like I had. I believe 10 to 15 years ago, my outcome would not have been as good as it has been."
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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