I was referred to Dr. Wilke for a (big toe) joint implant due to a break I had sustained 2.5 years prior; my cartilage was almost completely gone and I had floating bone fragments in my joint area. She advised me that I would only have 15% range of motion on the toe post-surgery/once I healed, which I understood. She said that I would be "feeling amazing" in two, short months, which, of course, was a welcome sentiment. She told me she would also be shortening the toe length so that I could "roll up" on it more as I walked. I very firmly and clearly told her I did NOT want her to shorten the toe as both of my large toes are fairly stiff due to bunions and I didn't want my feet to be different. She agreed. When I awoke from the surgery, she promptly told me that she shortened my toe "by about 3/4 of an inch" and, shocked, I replied, "I told you I didn't want you to shorten the toe!" to which she responded, "Oh." As a patient who goes under general anesthesia, there isn't anything you can do during surgery to correct or remind a doctor what you had discussed. (They fit me into a walking boot that was too small; my toes hung out over the front edge and the ankle portion of the boot was too tight and it took years for that pain to ease.) She told me not to wiggle my toes AT ALL while I was in the boot (3 weeks). I was very, very careful and adhered to ALL the rules as I wanted this surgery to be a success. When they removed the boot and stitches, Dr. Wilke placed her thumb under my big toe, held tightly to my foot, and forced my toe straight upward, toward the ceiling, at a 90 degree angle, far beyond the 15% range of motion I was supposed to have. In addition, for three weeks, my foot had been completely motionless, so that sudden pull on muscles, etc., was excruciating. She said that I was ridiculous and that it shouldn't hurt and I said, "There's nothing I would love more than to hop out of this chair and walk right over to you.... with no pain." She then advised me that I'd feel much better in six months (a far cry from two months). After I followed the rehabilitation plan for 6 weeks, I decided to stop because I was in so much pain and they were using weights that were too heavy for my ankle that had been affected by the boot. I offered to double the reps with a lower weight, but they kept insisting. At that time, Dr. Wilke said, "You'll feel great in two years." I must point out that I am aware that rehabilitation is vital to recovery, which is why I was so dedicated with my at-home, self-driven rehabilitation and why I attended their rehab appointments consistently and fully for six weeks. At the end of my six weeks, I was still in terrible pain with a lot of swelling in the joint area. They x-rayed it and said it looked fine to them. Upon her releasing me, Dr. Wilke said, "You'll really feel great in five years." I was 44.5 years old at that time. I'll now add something that Dr. Wilke does not know: I went to three, different orthopedic doctors after she released me who either x-rayed me themselves or looked at the x-rays which I brought with me to their offices. I was told by one of them, "Hmmm, that's not how I would do it, but I guess you could do it that way...". Another said, "That implant is in there upside down!", and a third who said, "I think it looks ok on the x-ray." As it stands, my only choice for possible relief would be to have another surgery to have cadaver bone implanted in place of the titanium implant and to fill in the missing bone areas. And I will have NO range of motion, which, to be honest, is how I'm currently living anyway. It is now EIGHT years since my surgery, almost to the day, and I STILL suffer. It is still swollen, sore, stiff, and has affected my entire body and my entire life. Like the title of this review says, "find someone else".
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