For as long as she can remember, 13-year-old Kayla Vanberkom has had pain in her feet every day. Born with severe flat feet, her father, Jamie, was told by specialists that there was nothing that could be done surgically to help Kayla's feet.
"She always had pain in her feet . . . there wasn't anything I could do to help her," Jamie said.
Kayla was limited in what physical activities she could participate in. Jumping and running caused pain in her feet, as well as walking long distances. She loved to ride her bike, but the pain in her feet even limited that activity.
Last summer, all that changed for Kayla. A physical therapist Kayla had been seeing mentioned that a new orthopedic surgeon who specialized in feet, ankle and leg procedures was joining Powder River Orthopedics and Spine (PROS), a Campbell County Medical Group clinic. Jamie was quick to schedule an appointment with
Dr. Robert Grunfeld, and in no time Kayla was awaiting surgery.
"Dr. Grunfeld took one look at her x-rays and said 'this is what I can do' and he did it," Jamie said. "The recovery time was sooner than he said it would be."
Dr. Grunfeld performed a lateral lengthening procedure first on Kayla's right foot and then just a few weeks later, on her left. Almost immediately Kayla noticed the difference and since the procedures, she has been pain free.
"Her feet used to hurt her all the time," Jamie said. "Now she can do it all and she doesn't complain about anything. It's a big weight off my shoulders. I don't have to worry anymore."
Helping patients like Kayla is exactly why Dr. Grunfeld became an orthopedic surgeon and specialized in foot, ankle and leg procedures. During his residency, Dr. Grunfeld had the opportunity to help children who had suffered from severe club foot be able to walk. That satisfaction of being able to change a person's life compelled him to dedicate his career to orthopedics.
"People use their feet all the time," Dr. Grunfeld said. "If anything goes wrong it's debilitating."
Before Dr. Grunfeld joined PROS last August, patients had to travel to other communities for treatment of severe foot and ankle problems. For Kayla and Jamie, Dr. Grunfeld's arrival in Gillette was life changing for both of them.
"He worked wonders," Jamie said. "I wish every doctor in town was like him. I'm so glad he came to Gillette, otherwise we'd still be going through this."
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer