VHM-2014-2015-lores - page 26

Vail Health
Local skier and
patient Brian
Kruse skis
Rodeo Park in
Beaver Creek.
completing his Fellowship Training
at Brigham and Women's Hospital in
Boston. He told Brian he had ruptured
his Achilles tendon and discussed
operative and non-operative treat-
ment options. Brian elected to have
the rupture repaired, which can
require a long recovery period.
“Then he started explaining what
he was going to do by literally pulling
out a pen and drawing on the paper
I was sitting on,” recalls Brian.
Dr. Elton is one of the few foot and
ankle surgeons in the United States
utilizing a new procedure to repair
Achilles ruptures using a minimally in-
vasive technique. He published a paper
on the topic for the American Ortho-
paedic Foot & Ankle Society in 2010.
Dr. Elton says the new technique
has been shown to have equivalent
outcomes with less risk of wound
or infection problems than with
older techniques. His preference is
to repair all Achilles ruptures with
this technique, but says a minority
of ruptures are not amenable to this
technique for one reason or another.
“At the time, I didn’t know all he did
was ankles,” says Brian. “Once I started
asking around, I learned he is the 'go-
to guy' for anything to do with feet and
ankles. His humbleness and simplicity
in explaining things comforted me.”
The older method of treating Achil-
les ruptures was to either place the
patient’s leg in a cast to immobilize
the ruptured tendon, or use a very
large incision on the back of the leg.
The cast does not allow motion at the
ankle and Brian says that’s exactly the
opposite of what Dr. Elton wanted him
to do. “He wanted me to get my range
of motion back as soon as possible.”
The minimally invasive or lim-
ited open approach to repairing the
tendon requires a small incision
on the back of the leg overlying the
rupture that is just large enough to
put the tendon ends back together
and repair it with strong sutures in
the tendon. The patient is placed
in a splint for about 10 days, then
it was
of what 38-year-
old Brian Kruse calls the “big snow
year of 2010” when he hit a patch
of solid snow while skiing on Vail
Mountain and was thrown violently
forward. Since he didn’t come out
of his ski, he wasn’t sure what hap-
pened, but he knew it was bad.
As soon as he got home, he called
Vail-Summit Orthopaedics to
make an appointment. “I was not
familiar with Dr. John Paul Elton,
but I’ve always used Vail-Summit
Orthopaedics for ski injuries so
that’s why I called,” recalls Brian.
Dr. Elton is a Harvard-trained foot
and ankle specialist who joined Vail-
Summit Orthopaedics in 2010 after
The Forefront
of Recovery
Vail-Summit Orthopaedics doctors utilize new-and-improved
techniques to give patients better options — and better results
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