Caroline Trammel and her orthopedic surgeon Dr. Todd Smith

Caroline's Complicated Ankle Repair

(Pictured) Three months after Todd B. Smith, MD, repaired her ankle, Caroline Trammel was out of her cast and had regained her pre-fall strength and mobility.

It was a bright and sunny January morning when Caroline Trammel and her husband, Andy, got in their car to head to church. At the end of the driveway, Caroline stepped out to pick up the newspaper so it wouldn’t get wet from the melting snow on the ground. To her surprise, she suddenly slipped on black ice, and immediately knew she was hurt.

“It took a minute for my husband to realize that we were going to miss church that day,” Caroline said. “I told him to turn the car around and drive me to the emergency room.”

The fall injured Caroline’s ankle pretty badly. The emergency team at Olathe Medical Center diagnosed a ruptured tendon, immobilized the joint and referred her to an orthopedic surgeon, Todd B. Smith, MD, at Olathe Health Johnson County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Dr. Smith is fellowship trained in Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, and Foot and Ankle Reconstruction.

Complicating things was a 40-year-old injury that Caroline had suffered as a teenager in Canada. A toboggan accident had injured her back, pelvis and ankle. A surgeon in Toronto worked tirelessly to piece together the tendons in Caroline’s ankle. The doctor moved tendons to entirely new locations to make up for her nerve damage, so she could walk without a brace. Lucky for Caroline and Dr. Smith in 2018, Caroline had the doctors reports from 1979. She brought them to her appointment with Dr. Smith, in hopes it would help him treat her 2018 injury.

“Caroline’s ankle anatomy is different than the typical patient, because of her nerve injury and reconstruction 40 years ago," Dr. Smith said. "Being able to see the original surgeon’s notes about how he had rerouted the tendons in her ankle, combined with images from her 2018 MRI, was so valuable in helping me plan my surgical repair.”

Three months after Dr. Smith repaired her ankle, Caroline was out of her cast and had regained her pre-fall strength and mobility. She is able to exercise again, walking and swimming often. “It’s been a long road, but I’m feeling well. It was by God’s grace that I had kept those old surgical notes all these years. I’m thankful to Dr. Smith for putting me back together,” Caroline said.

Caroline recently reconnected with the surgeon who operated on her ankle in Canada—he has retired and lives just 20 minutes from her parents in Florida. “I’m excited to see him again and show off Dr. Smith’s handiwork. A 40-year followup is just really cool.”

Caroline and Andy live in Olathe where they enjoy volunteering at church and spending time with their three grown children and five grandkids.

To schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, please call 913-791-4396.

You might also be interested in: