Firefighter’s Foot Drop Problem Solved
Dr. Andrew Elkwood Performs Peroneal Nerve Surgery
“I’m so glad I found Dr. Elkwood. He phoned me personally the evening after the surgery to check in. I couldn’t believe he would do that. And the staff at the Ambulatory Surgery Center was unreal. I couldn’t have seen a more competent group. They kept my family and me up-to-date and answered every question. They left no stone unturned.” Joe Colon, patientJoe Colon leads a busy life. Although his “day job” is as a television news producer for New Jersey’s Channel 12, his lifelong passion is his work as a volunteer firefighter and EMS personnel in Freehold, New Jersey. So when Colon’s foot drop kept him out of action, he turned to Dr. Andrew Elkwood of the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at the Plastic Surgery Center.
Colon, a 27-year-old physically fit former semi-pro skateboarder, injured his knee slipping down snow-covered stairs in March 2013. An orthopedist saw a meniscus tear in his left knee and did arthroscopic surgery to trim some loose ends. But after lingering pain and weakness in Colon’s foot, an EMG test was performed. Electromyography, or EMG, is a nerve conductivity test. The test showed likely damage to Colon’s peroneal nerve.
A peroneal nerve injury (also called foot drop) is a peripheral nerve injury that affects a patient’s ability to lift the foot at the ankle. It can also cause pain and weakness. This nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower leg, foot, and toes. One cause of this injury is trauma to the knee. “It was scary not to be able to feel my foot. And I had trouble sleeping, with nerve pain shooting down my leg,” says Colon.
Colon was most distressed that he has spent the longest stretch in the past 12 years not answering Fire Department calls. Colon, who signed up as a 16-year-old following 9/11, has been on the job throughout college and full-time television work. So, when his orthopedist referred him to Dr. Elkwood, he was willing to try anything to get back to his highly-active life. As he relates, “I take a lot of pride being in the Fire Department. It’s a big part of my life.” In fact, the department calls to check in on him constantly, including asking when he’ll be back on the job.
Colon was excited and relieved to feel his foot immediately following surgery with Dr. Elkwood. “I’m so glad I found Dr. Elkwood. He phoned me personally the evening after the surgery to check-in. I couldn’t believe he would do that. And the staff at the Ambulatory Surgery Center was unreal. I couldn’t have seen a more competent group. They kept my family and me up-to-date and answered every question. They left no stone unturned.”
All that’s left now is recovery with physical therapy. In fact, there is such a small scar from the surgery that Colon reports, “I can see why people go to Dr. Elkwood for plastic surgery. That thing (scar) is beautiful.”
“I feel great,” says Colon, not even quite a month following surgery. He’s still doing physical therapy, but happily reports that in no time, “I’ll be back on that fire truck.”