Finding Her Footing 

Carlyn Raduechel isn’t going to sit still for long. Biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, gardening – along with helping keep pace with her three grandkids – are all on the 56-year-old Amasa resident’s priority list.

But a debilitating arthritic ankle was more than slowing her down. Her ankle joint condition deteriorated to the point that her Iron Mountain physician recommended she consider an ankle replacement procedure. She was referred to Marquette orthopedic surgeon Dr. Zachary Leonard.

Dr. Leonard, himself an Iron Mountain area native, examined Carlyn and found she was a candidate for STAR (Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement) surgery. Dr. Leonard performed Carlyn’s surgery in late fall at UP Health System – Bell in Ishpeming. Dr. Leonard is board certified in orthopedic surgery, fellowship-trained in foot and ankle, and also treats conditions of the hip and knee.

Dr. Leonard explains that for severe ankle arthritis, the STAR procedure is often a good alternative to fusing the joint, which results in a pronounced limitation to in the patient’s foot mobility.

“The nice part about replacement versus fusion is you keep your gait. Also opposed to fusion, it doesn’t put additional stress on other joints,” says Dr. Leonard, who has performed dozens of STAR procedures since coming to Marquette four years ago.

Carly says, “The ankle arthritis has been something that I lived with and progressively got worse in the past five years.  There was no doubt in Dr. Leonard’s mind that I was a good candidate for STAR. I wanted to get back to my quality of life. I couldn’t snowshoe or mountain bike. I love to walk and was walking three miles a day, but prior to the surgery that was down to nothing.”

Her surgery at Bell was all positive, says Carlyn:

“I can’t say enough about Dr. Leonard and the staffing at Bell. Even when I went home, they’d call and check up on me, which was really nice. Overall, the experience was just remarkable.”

Learn more about Orthopaedics at UP Health System here, or call 844.411.UPHS.