According to Dr. Timothy Hanna, owner of Hanna Ankle and Foot, there are two kinds of doctors in the world. The first kind keeps a strict schedule, and is always on time. This likely means that when they enter an exam room to see a patient they have a stopwatch, and when the allotted number of minutes are up, they walk out to see the next patient. The second kind of doctor makes sure all of their patients’ questions are answered, even if it means spending more time than expected. Hanna understands that all patients have different expectations for physician visits, which is why he is clear about being the second type of doctor.
“If someone breaks their ankle, they can’t work,” Hanna says. “They can’t take care of their kids. They can’t drive. Their whole life is completely flipped upside down. Sometimes those conversations take more time.”
Hanna treats his patients with kindness and respect, making sure he properly communicates each step of the treatment process.
“If a patient misunderstands something I say, it could negatively affect their recovery,” he says. “For instance, if I tell a patient to start putting weight on their foot and do range-of-motion exercises over the next four weeks, if they come back to my office still on crutches because they thought I’d said not to put weight on it, they would have built up scar tissue, developed muscle atrophy, etcetera, which will lead to suboptimal results.”
Hanna has even recruited his French bulldog, Gus, to act as nurse and playmate. Hanna recently had a patient who was complaining about a long wait. Gus kept her company, and after ten minutes of petting and snuggling the puppy, she told Hanna, “I’m glad to see you, but Gus has already made me feel so much better.”
Gus also helps out with patients who are apprehensive about certain therapies. For instance, Hanna had a patient who battled plantar fasciitis for three years, and was unable to get relief because she was too scared to get a steroid injection. One day the staff set Gus on her lap. With her focus shifted to something puffy rather than pointy, Hanna administered the shots with ease.
Hanna, who has been practicing in Louisville since 2014, opened Hanna Ankle and Foot in August of 2018. When he did so, he was advised by his peers that in order to turn a profit, he should rent a small, cheap space, buy a used X-ray machine, and purchase low-level ultrasound equipment, which he could slowly pay off over time.
“I took every single piece of advice and threw it out the window,” says Hanna, who instead secured a beautiful office located in the middle of the city.
He then bought state-of-the-art equipment and technology. For instance, a three-dimensional scanner on an iPad allows him to make necessary modifications to insoles. Hanna also purchased an air filtering device two years ago in an attempt to provide the most sterile clinic atmosphere possible. The machine purifies the air of nearly all contaminants, including viruses. His office remains the sole practice of its kind in the region with such a device. Dr. Hanna stressed that his facility can do just about anything an ER can do for foot and ankle injuries, which reduces waiting time and money spent. “We are a convenient option for those looking to be seen soon and avoid the ER,” he said.
“I didn’t expect a world pandemic, but it certainly seems like a genius idea in hindsight,” Hanna says. “My only goal has been and always will be to get my patients back on their feet as quickly as possible, in the most safe environment possible.”
Specializing in sports medicine, trauma, arthritis, and ligament and tendon repair, Hanna’s surgical techniques deliver excellent results, with ongoing attempts to limit incision sizes, time under anesthesia, recovery time, and risk to the patient. For example, an ankle joint can’t be fused, or else it might never move again. Hanna performs a minimally invasive procedure called a subchondroplasty that involves scoping the ankle and rebuilding the bone structure beneath the underlying arthritis.
“The patient has increased range of motion because I remove all of the interior impingement and spurring,” Hanna says.
The procedure allows for immediate weight bearing and range-of-motion activities.
“Many arthritic patients are told their options are limited to large surgeries, such as fusions that require months of non-weight bearing, huge risks, and loss of function of the joint,” Hanna says. “By scoping the ankle and rebuilding the arthritic bone, patients can be immediately weight bearing, with almost no incision, while we also increase range of motion by removing impingements and spurs.”
Dr. Hanna also specializes in a minimally invasive technique on fractures, which usually cuts patients’ recovery times nearly in half. The approach allows a much smaller incision, limiting the risk of infection and incision dehiscence, while also providing a much stronger construct that allows the patient to engage in range of motion and weight bearing much sooner. “My biggest challenge is finding patients who have given up because they don’t know what I do exists,” Dr. Hanna says.
“I’ve had patients who broke their ankles 35 years ago and have been walking around in pain ever since, who decline surgery due to risk and time required to heal,” Hanna says. “They have lost hope. Within days, many of these patients are in less pain than they have been in 35 years, with more motion then they thought possible. The results have been very rewarding.”
Hanna Ankle and Foot is located at 3901 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 104 in Louisville. For more information, give them a call at 502-365-1899 or visit them online at riseupankle.com.