2022 | Patient Education | 0 comments


Diane Savino, 88 loves walking along the beach near her home in Manchester. But for years, these strolls were painful due to two problems with her left foot. It would take two decades and the help of a doctor at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC) to make ambles on the shore-or anywhere else-comfortable again.

One of Savino’s issues, misalignment of her left big toe, arose in 2002 following surgery to remove a bunion. The bunion had made her toe veer left and cross over painfully to her second toe. After surgery, the toe overcorrected and pointed inward. “I couldn’t put certain shoes on and had to wear soft sneakers.” Savino says.

The other problem, a condition known as hammertoes, had her second through fifth toes bent upward at their middle joint. Hammertoes make walking painful because the tops of the toes rub against a person’s shoes.

Over the next 20 years, Savino saw several doctors and had six more surgeries aimed at correcting her foot problems. Five were unsuccessful; the sixth realigned her big toe but didn’t fix her hammertoes.

Finally, in early 2022, an internet search for the best local foot surgeons called her attention to Manooj Prasad, DPM, Chief of Podiatry at MMCSC. Savino noted he was among the few who perform the Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR Ankle), an operation that swaps an arthritic ankle joint with an implanted prosthetic. “I thought, if he’s so good that he’s doing the STAR Ankle, maybe he can help me.” she says. She visited his office in February 2022.


X-rays found that previous attempts to fix Savino’s hammertoes had actually made them worse. “Her third toe looked like it was making a 90-degree turn to the left,” Dr. Prasad says.

But he had a solution: “We’d go into her toes, remove some bone and put in small implants that would hold the toes in a corrected position,” he says.

Savino appreciated Dr. Prasad’s expertise and detailed description of the outpatient procedure he wanted to perform to address her condition. “He explained everything clearly, so I knew what to expect,” she says. She also appreciated the friendliness of the healthcare professionals at her pre-op screening a few weeks later. “We chatted,” she says. “They were low-key and not rushed.”

Savino underwent the procedure, called an arthrodesis, at MMCSC on April 5. A complimentary hospital shuttle service provided her with a ride home just just hours after the operation was completed. After seven weeks of recovery in a boot and later a surgical shoe, she was wearing normal footwear of her choice and walking pain-free.

Having experienced multiple foot surgeries, Savino came away impressed. “You usually don’t see much of the doctor except for the initial diagnosis and planning-you see techs and nurses,” she says. “But Dr. Prasad did everything. Whether consulting, bandaging my foot or taking out stitches, I always felt like his mind was on me and me alone.”

Savino is now back to her favorite pastimes, including, of course, shoreline strolls. “I had prayed, Send me to the right doctor, Lord, please,” she says. Her prayer was finally answered in finding Dr. Prasad.

To learn more about same-day surgery at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, call 732.785.4431 or visit www.gsfagroup.com.

Toms River Diabetic Ulcer Specialist


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