Lanny, Ankle Replacement Patient


“It hurt all the time. I couldn’t walk on it. I could stand five, 10 minutes at the most. I just had to get something done.”

Lanny’s ankle replacement story

Dairy farming for Lanny's family harkens back generations. “The farm’s been here for probably a hundred years or better,” says Lanny about his Chuckey, Tennessee, acreage. “We’ve been here all my life.”

Lanny also inherited bad joints. He’s already had a knee replacement. His father had weak ankles. “I inherited that, and my sister did too,” he says. A burdensome vulnerability for a vocation that requires baling hay, milking a herd of cows, and pushing tractor pedals.

“You’ve got a lot of walking to do inspecting the fields, seeing if you’ve got any insect problems, attending to the heifers and all, repairing machinery. There’s just something the whole time,” he says.

In the fall of 2018, Lanny recalls that his ankle finally just gave up. “It hurt all the time. I couldn’t walk on it. I could stand five, 10 minutes at the most. I just had to get something done.”

His wife, Betty, says the pain had moved beyond a limp into something far more. “He was in excruciating pain.”

Doctor visits and specialists offered little help. A stretch of injections over several months barely dampened the pain. Then someone in passing mentioned ankle replacements.

Lanny liked that idea right off. He searched the internet for nearby specialists known to perform the procedure, and found Dr. Regan Parr at Appalachian Orthopedics in Johnson City. “He x-rayed it and he said, ‘You need an ankle replacement.’ And I said, “Well that sounds like what I was wanting to hear.” They scheduled the surgery to be performed at Johnson City Medical Center.

Over the next six weeks, Lanny visited The Wellness Center in Johnson City for physical therapy in preparation for the procedure. “Then in October, we had the surgery done. And it’s been a blessing,” he says.

Betty would call that an understatement.

“After he had the ankle done – the next day – it was totally different. He was not hurting, and you could tell his attitude totally changed.”

The next four weeks found Lanny off his feet in a recliner. “You’ve got to keep the foot propped up above your eyeballs about 22 hours a day,” he recalls. “But after that, I could wear a high-top work boot. I strapped that on and been going good ever since. The day before Thanksgiving, I climbed on a tractor, and I was happy again.”

The change the new ankle made for Lanny was tremendous. After the usually vigorous farmer was cleared to be up and about again, Betty says she couldn’t get him to slow down. They were both surprised at how much easier the ankle replacement recovery was versus recovery for his knee replacement years before.

For Lanny, the care and expertise he experienced with his joint replacement at Johnson City Medical Center left an impression. “I’d give Johnson City Medical Center high marks. Everything that I needed, they took care of it. I couldn’t be treated any better than they did.”

It was the nurses, though, for whom Betty feels the most gratitude. “I think Johnson City Medical Center did a fantastic job on everything,” she says. “We couldn’t ask for better nurses. They were just excellent.”

Lanny’s advice to anyone undergoing the procedure is to get a shower stool, a knee scooter, and a lift chair – a motorized recliner that gently lifts the person up from sitting into a standing and vice versa – before surgery. “A knee scooter is vital,” adds Betty. “He could outrun you in that thing.”

Betty praises the outcome of the ankle replacement procedure at Johnson City Medical Center as much as Lanny does. “The only pain he had was because he stepped wrong. But other than that, he has not had any pain in that leg after he came home from having surgery,” she says happily.

Without the procedure, this life-long farmer of over 100 acres of hay and cattle says he would have soon become unnaturally bound indoors.

“If I had not had an ankle replacement, I’d be pretty much be confined to the house and doing very little outside work.”

Is ankle replacement for you?

If you think surgery might help you get moving again – like it did for Lanny – learn more about total ankle replacement here.