Arthritis is degeneration of any of the body’s many joints. It can be brought on by years of wear-and-tear or by injury. Arthritis in the ankle can be particularly vexing because it makes moving around so difficult. The ankle joints are inflamed, tender to the touch, and hurt even worse with any kind of activity. Quality of life really suffers because you can’t even walk without pain.
Traditional treatments for arthritis in the ankle are the right choice for many people, and our foot surgeons Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka do continue to use them. In many cases, rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics, physical therapy, or some combination of all of these will improve a patient’s symptoms.
Two types of surgery
When conservative treatments are maxed out and your pain becomes too much to bear, that’s when we consider surgery.
Many patients will benefit from a type of procedure known as joint fusion. We clean out the joint (debridement) and fuse bones together using plates, pins, rods, or screws. This type of surgery called arthrodesis eliminates pain, but also eliminates any motion in the joint. For active people, this may not be an attractive option.
In contrast, total ankle replacement surgery has become an option for more and more people over the last decade. This type of surgery completely removes the joint and replaces it with an artificial one, much like total knee or hip replacement. In recent years, there have been great improvements in total ankle replacement, including advances in precision CT-scanning of your particular ankle structure. This allows us to create a precise new ankle with a custom-fit and all the gliding, cushioned motion of a biological ankle joint.
All of us at Affiliated Foot at Ankle Center find total ankle replacement to be an exciting advancement in the treatment of ankle arthritis. If you live in Monmouth County and think you might benefit from this type of surgery, contact us for a consultation at our offices in Howell or Jackson, New Jersey. Make an appointment online or call us at (732) 905-1110.