Josh’s story: ‘Life-changing’ heel surgery

Thursday, June 30, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

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Josh Toneys with Dr. Michael Schnaubelt.


Josh Toneys knew immediately. After slipping and falling eight feet from scaffolding, he knew.


“I tried to stand up,” he said. “It’s human nature. You think you’re OK."


But Toneys was not OK, having landed feet first on a concrete floor, shattering his left heel.


“I fell down and all my weight went onto that one heel,” said Toneys, 37, of Egg Harbor, who was helping a friend install a ceiling in a new home in Door County in January 2016.


“It was life-changing. I had to have the surgery.”


Four months later, Toneys was walking again, his left heel and heel joint rebuilt by Dr. Michael Schnaubelt, a board-certified surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in Green Bay.


“The surgery we did was a little different approach than traditional surgery,” Schnaubelt said. “This newer technology has really been a huge advantage. It’s not widely done locally.”


Schnaubelt made a small incision on the outside of Toneys’ left ankle. Guided by imaging, Schnaubelt inserted three screws at a 45-degree angle to strengthen Toneys’ heel and heel joint.


“This limited approach with surgery definitely helps,” Schnaubelt said. “It lets people move much faster. It helps them heal faster.”


Dr. Michael Schnaubelt reviews Josh Toneys' X-rays.


Both men are delighted with the results.


“I’m proof that it went well. Everything I could do for my body, I did,” Toneys said.


After researching his injury, Toneys did physical therapy and took supplements to boost bone growth. He also found a way to walk without putting pressure on the injured heel, using an alternative to a crutch or a scooter, something “almost like a peg leg,” he said.


“Josh is doing fantastic,” Schnaubelt said. “He’s in the top two or three that I’ve seen with this injury. I give him a lot of credit.”


The injury was life-changing in other ways. Toneys is leaving construction – a physically demanding job – and will manage a Door County inn. Though always active, he’ll never run again.


“I want to save it for my family. Playing with my kids,” said Toneys, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. “Which is most important.”



Dr. Michael Schnaubelt sees patients in Green Bay and Shawano. To request an appointment, call 920-288-5555 in Green Bay or 877-844-8796 in Shawano or do so online.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.