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Taking Care of Our Weekend Warriors - Toby's Story: Patient Stories

From the people to the food to the landscapes, living in the Pacific Northwest is truly unique. And having the chance to enjoy the great outdoors 365 days a year is one of the biggest advantages to calling this place home. Whether you’re a runner, biker, skier, sailor or hiker, there are countless opportunities to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

But what happens when aches, pains and injuries keep you from doing the activities you love? That’s when it’s time to seek out expert orthopedic advice from your local Franciscan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine team.

Buckley resident, Toby Clark, 43, did just that. In July 2013, he was doing flips off a dock into a lake. The dock was wet and as he jumped up, his foot got stuck underneath a buoy at the dock’s edge. As soon as he got out of the water, he iced his ankle. “When I felt the back of my foot, I didn’t feel anything there,” Clark said. “I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

The next day, a Sunday, he visited the Franciscan Medical Pavilion in Bonney Lake. There, a physician referred him to Craig Clifford, DPM, a podiatrist at Franciscan Orthopedic Associates at St. Francis.


Offering patients orthopedic options

“As a podiatrist, I specialize in foot and ankle issues,” said Dr. Clifford. “Living in an area with so many active people, I see a lot of sports-related injuries, especially Achilles tendon rupture, ankle sprains and metatarsal fractures.” Dr. Clifford offers a wide range of treatment options for patients depending on their condition. These include less invasive options, such as physical therapy, as well as casts, braces, injections and surgery when needed.

When possible, Dr. Clifford uses an arthroscopic surgical technique for certain ankle procedures. “With arthroscopic surgery, we make small incisions and use specialized equipment, rather than making larger open incisions,” he said. The result is often decreased pain, shorter healing time and quicker return to activity.

Getting back to what matters most

Dr. Clifford evaluated Clark and explained that his Achilles tendon was completely ruptured. Five days later, Dr. Clifford surgically repaired the injury at St. Francis Hospital. Clark was able to go home the same day. “I couldn't have asked for a better experience,” said Clark. “Everything went so smoothly, and I feel so fortunate.” Clark continued to follow up with Dr. Clifford after his surgery to ensure he was healing properly.

As soon as Dr. Clifford gave Clark the green light, he was back out there doing the activities he loves. “I spend my summers wakeboarding with my kids, and I spend my winters snowmobiling,” he said. “I also do a lot of hiking, running and CrossFit. As someone who̠s an extremely active person and doesn't sit down very often, I was happy to be back on my feet as soon as I possibly could.”

Learn about orthopedic care and sports medicine