December 11, 2020

Stories That Move Us: Eric Mikiska

Age 44, from Fishers, IN

Enjoys biking, lifting weights/working out, hiking, swimming, water skiing and fishing

Injury/Condition: Left/right ankle arthritis

CIO Provider/Treatment: Dr. Steven Herbst, left and right ankle replacements

Eric’s Story

Eric’s ankles began deteriorating after years of sports injuries, long distance running and his career in the military. Wear and tear on his right ankle caused him to receive two surgeries in 2006 by another local orthopedic practice, but unfortunately, his ankle was never the same after the surgery. He had limited range of motion and stiffness, and physical therapy helped very little. He ended up wearing orthotics and heal lifts in his shoes to help him walk and jog with less of a noticeable limp.

During a deployment to Iraq in 2008, Eric further damaged his right ankle. Upon returning home at the end of the deployment, another surgery was performed to correct the most recent damage. After the surgery, Eric developed a severe staph infection that nearly resulted in his lower leg being amputated and resulted in essentially no flexibility or strength remaining in his ankle. After multiple rounds of physical therapy to try and strengthen his right ankle, his left ankle started deteriorating rapidly due to overcompensating for the right ankle for so many years.

Eric first visited with Dr. Herbst in 2017 after injuring his left ankle during a military training event. Dr. Herbst performed surgery shortly after and informed Eric that he could keep patching his damaged ankles with injections and physical therapy, but ankle replacements were part of his future care plan.

“I was hopeful after meeting with Dr. Herbst,” said Eric. “Previously, I sought out multiple opinions and every other surgeon wanted to fuse my ankles which would have hindered my active lifestyle. Dr. Herbst was confident he could repair my damaged ankles and allow me to continue living a fully active lifestyle.”

After graduating from a military school in February 2020, Eric followed up with Dr. Herbst to discuss ankle replacement surgery. His left ankle hindered Eric’s performance at the most recent military school and had caused far more pain than ever before.

Dr. Herbst replaced Eric’s left ankle in June 2020.

“All of the pain was gone in that leg almost immediately when I woke up, with the exception of the obvious pain from surgery for a few days,” said Eric. “The constant headaches and shoulder cramps from tension due to anticipating pain with every step and the constant limp/leg drag I had developed was gone.”

Eric gained eighteen degrees of flexibility and was back to strength training at full weight just three months after surgery, and he was finally able to stand up and push-off of his left leg on his bike when riding uphill, which he couldn’t do before due to pain and lack of flexibility.

“After seeing the incredible results from replacing my left ankle, I decided to go ahead and have the right ankle replaced in November 2020,” said Eric. “I’m three weeks out from surgery, and I cannot wait to see how the right ankle performs once I’m back to being fully active.”