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Jami Dickson – Toe Fusion Success Story

Toe fusion procedure an ace for Jami Dickson

Jami Dickson

For years, Jami Dickson lived on the tennis court. She played four hours a day, five days a week, and loved every minute of it.

About 10 years ago, though, a seemingly unbeatable opponent kicked her off the court: her own two feet.

“When you have a high arch and you’re playing a sport with high impact, plus have a predisposition for good old-fashioned arthritis, it all takes its toll,” says the Fairview resident, who developed excruciating pain in her feet, particularly the right foot.

Dickson sidelined her favorite sport and invested hundreds of dollars in top-of-the line athletic shoes for other activities, like walking her dogs and hiking in Hawaii. Nevertheless, the pain persisted.

“I didn’t even realize the problem was in my toe,” says Dickson, now 48. What she did realize was that she needed expert care. Dickson began searching for a foot and ankle specialist. At the end of her search was John Wey, MD, independently practicing orthopedist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

Taming troubled toes

“Dr. Wey said my right toe was so far gone that I had two choices: I could get a pair of Sketchers tennis shoes (which have a rocking motion so your toe doesn’t bend) in every color or I could have a toe fusion procedure,” Dickson says.

Eager to get back to her active lifestyle, Dickson chose the latter.

In a toe joint fusion, the surgeon resurfaces the joint with specially designed metal plates.

“With these plates, we have a more secure fusion, and it gets the angle of the big toe just right,” Dr. Wey says. “They also help patients have a faster recovery.

“Once the joint is fused, there is no more pain and no restrictions. Jami can do almost whatever she wants on it, eventually even play tennis.”

As for the left foot, the arthritis was less severe, and Dr. Wey only had to remove some bone fragments.

Point me to the tennis court

Dickson had her surgery on May 25 and was up and moving that day. Now she’s back to walking the dogs, doing light exercise, and looking forward to taking up a racket again.

“This surgery has been life-altering,” she says. “I was really depressed when I met Dr. Wey; I think I actually cried at the first appointment. Now, I’m so happy. I have no limitations. I can do anything.”

If foot or ankle pain is keeping you from living life to its fullest, find a physician on the Methodist Richardson medical staff today.

From the winter 2012 edition of Shine magazine.