Early in 2018, Rick Lovekin, 44, of Sandusky noticed extensive swelling in one of his feet. He struggled to walk because of his aching, painful, collapsing foot. After seeing multiple doctors who treated him with short-term relief for months, he was referred to Podiatric Surgeons Dr. Peter Highlander and Dr. Coleman Clougherty at The Bellevue Hospital for a long-term solution.
Rick was diagnosed with Charcot Foot, also known as Charcot Neuroarthropathy. This disease affects many people with diabetes and often leads to open wounds in the feet and lower legs. If a patient is not diagnosed early, it can lead to lower leg amputation.
Fortunately for Rick, it was not too late. He was braced temporarily and taken off of his foot until he could get medical clearance. In January 2019, he had reconstructive surgery to realign his entire foot and ankle.
Now less than a year later, he is walking with no pain and a stable leg that is no longer in danger of collapse or amputation. Rick is thankful for the podiatric surgeons at The Reconstruction Institute, 102 Commerce Park Drive, Suite D, Bellevue.
“I am so happy I found The Reconstruction Institute,” Rick said. “They saved my foot.”
Stories like Richard’s are becoming more common. The diabetic population is growing larger every day and becoming more susceptible to this condition, which begins by attacking the bones, joints and soft tissue in the feet.
“At The Reconstruction Institute, our team has one main goal—to prevent foot and leg amputations in specific at-risk patient populations including those with diabetes,” said Dr. Coleman Clougherty.
“We do this by working with patients who have been living in pain and providing them the appropriate treatment plan, whether that is surgical or conservative care, in order to get them back onto their feet and allow them to return to a normal life again,” Dr. Clougherty added.
Drs. Highlander and Clougherty work hand-in-hand together with their certified physician assistant Kim Cullen and certified nurse practitioner Barb Wahl to provide comprehensive and complete care to all of their patients.
“Working at The Bellevue Hospital, we provide personalized care close to home, to the community and beyond,” said Dr. Peter Highlander. “Our staff will ensure your experience at The Reconstruction Institute is one that is both enjoyable and one that is the first step on your road to recovery.”
The Reconstruction Institute treats everything from arthritis in the foot and ankle to heel pain and tendon problems.
“Using some of the most advanced technology available in the clinical and surgery setting, Drs. Highlander and Clougherty are on the cutting edge of medicine, customizing the surgical process specifically to their patient’s needs,” said Michael K. Winthrop, President and CEO of The Bellevue Hospital.
“Not only are they dedicated to providing the best care available, but The Reconstruction Institute makes it their mission to provide the patient what they need so they can stop making their life about their ailment, and instead begin living life again.”
Dr. Highlander received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida and is most recently noted for his use of 3D printed custom implants. In January 2018, Dr. Highlander performed Ohio's first successful total talus, or ankle, replacement using 3D printing. He is also the first surgeon in the U.S. to perform a custom cuboid bone replacement.
Dr. Clougherty received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Kent State University. He specializes in treating complex lower limb conditions such as post-traumatic deformities. Dr. Clougherty focuses on limb salvage of the lower extremities and has extensive experience in muscle flap procedures.