As a kid I have to treat him for what he’s gonna develop into and then how is he going to be a successful adult with this ankle.
12-year old Zion loves to play basketball. When his homework and chores are done, he and his brother head for the court.
But when a blizzard buried the basketball court, Zion and his older brother concocted a different game to play. A game that nearly cost Zion his leg. “Me and my brother thought that it would be fun if we put a pile of snow under our room window and jump out into it, until I jumped out of it and broke my ankle,” said Zion.
Zion broke his fibula in two places and the tibia growth center was smashed. His soft tissues, ligaments and tendons were also damaged. “When I first met Zion in the ER and I saw his bone hanging out of the skin and his foot was crooked, I had to set him up for success for the next 20 years,”
“I didn’t think Zion would be able to walk again,” said Zion’s mother Kusema.
Conventional repair would involve either casting or implanting plates and screws. To give Zion the best chance at a full recovery, Dr. Frumberg opted for the TrueLok™ external fixation system.
The TrueLok system consists of circular rings and semi-circular external supports that are centered on the patients’ limb and secured to the bone. The rings are connected externally to provide stable bone fixation.
“When I look at the X-ray immediately after surgery, I see that his alignment has been restored and everything looks very stable in an anatomic position,” continued Frumberg. “I look at his X-ray today and I am very pleased with the way his ankle has healed and his alignment is pretty good.”
Dr. Frumberg says helping patients get used to the exposed nature of the TrueLok frame is one of the first steps of the recovery process.
“The first time when I saw the frame on my leg, uh, it was like weird, I never saw anything like that. I felt like I had an alien leg.” said Zion. “Dr. Frumberg made sure I was cleaning it every day and as I was going to the doctor seeing him, he was stretching it, seeing how I was doing with the leg.”
“The TrueLok system is a very powerful tool. I can treat the initial traumatic phase. I can treat the overall alignment a little bit later,”said Frumberg. “When all is said and done, I’m just removing a frame; there’s nothing left inside his leg.”
With the removal of the frame and the healing process well under way, Zion’s future couldn’t be brighter. “Now here it is a year later, Zion is running, playing football, basketball, lacrosse, whatever he chooses to do,” says his mom, Kusema.
“It’s really fun to watch him play basketball, and just get back to being a kid which is the most important thing,” says Frumberg. “It’s very rewarding to know him; he’s also a trip-he’s a cool kid!”