From Pain to Pinehurst

As a golf pro, George Petrole spends most of his days on the golf course. So when his ankle pain began to interfere with his game, he knew he needed to take action.


For George Petrole, golf is more than just a game it’s his livelihood. There are some days that he spends over 12 hours on his feet, either teaching students or caring for the course. But, his ankle pain was keeping him from his daily routine.

“I had problems with flexibility and mobility. I had pain at work and when I left for the day. I even had trouble sleeping. That’s when I decided to put my confidence in Dr. Brigido and it was well founded,” says George Petrole.

Since Coordinated Health foot and ankle surgeon Stephen Brigido is an avid golfer himself, he understood George’s love of the game. Based on an extensive history and physical and imaging studies, he diagnosed George with degenerative ankle arthritis, which was most likely the result of a previous injury.

Initially Dr. Brigido tried conservative treatment including cortisone shots and physical therapy, however, when that didn’t work he suggested an ankle replacement.

George admits the idea of undergoing an ankle replacement was unnerving, especially in his line of work.

“I had seen other versions of ankle replacement and they all seemed outdated, but Dr. Brigido showed me a computer simulated version of the surgery and assured me it was the best option,” says George.

According to Dr. Brigido, not everyone is an ideal candidate for an ankle replacement.

“Some people just can’t get a replacement because the bone quality isn’t good enough, because the joints around it are too arthritic, or because of the bowing in their legs. But, George was the ideal patient,” says Dr. Brigido

During the procedure, Dr. Brigido removed a portion of the tibia and the portion of the talus and replaced them with a metal tibia and talus component. A plastic piece was placed between them to act as a shock absorbing bearing so that the ankle could move up and down and also absorbs the shock and pressure of walking in order to preserve the life of the implant.

Following the surgery, George was surprised by how quickly he was out of bed and moving around and says he had minimal pain.  He began physical therapy three times a week and his motivation even impressed Dr. Brigido.

“George should be our spokesperson for physical therapy. People like George come in and treat it like an exercise regimen. They are motivated,” says Dr. Brigido.

All of George’s hard work paid off. Much to Dr. Brigido’s surprise, George played golf at North Carolina’s Pinehurst course just six weeks after surgery.

“I was able to facilitate a golf swing, whereas before I wasn’t. This is a true solution. My game is better now than it was 20 years ago,” claims George.