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Severe Ankle Arthritis: Could Ankle Replacement be the Answer?

As one of our main weight-bearing structures, our ankles provide balance, allowing for mobility and movement. When one suffers from ankle arthritis or ankle joint inflammation, it can make everyday life a challenge. Typical symptoms include pain with motion, with the joint often becoming warm, swollen, and tender. Getting up, walking, and simply staying active can become a challenge.

Many suffer from ankle osteoarthritis, where the joint often experiences issues due to wear and tear. The cartilage may become rough and problematic, leaving the bones to rub against each other and causing pain and stiffness. This is quite common as adults age; however other factors, such as genetics, may play a role.

Be aware that it may not be your genes or age causing your arthritic ankle issues. A dislocation or fracture can cause post-traumatic arthritis. If an ankle injury damages the joint surface, it may be many years after the cartilage starts to wear away and cause issues. Your ankle pain could also be caused by Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease where the immune system literally attacks its tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body and often starts in the foot and ankle.

We can determine the best course of action with proper orthopedic diagnosis, which typically will involve advanced, onsite imaging. Many non-invasive treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medicines and physical therapy, may be beneficial. In some cases, when pain has become life altering, surgical intervention may be recommended. Options may include arthroscopic debridement to remove loose cartilage, bone spurs, or inflamed tissue. Arthrodesis, or fusion of joints to lessen pain, or arthroplasty, a total replacement of the ankle joint.

Total ankle replacement can be a valuable and viable option for those with advanced arthritis. Advances in technology have led to improved patient outcomes. Often the surgery relieves a patient's arthritis pain and offers them more mobility and movement than possible with other solutions.

If you're living with ankle arthritis and the pain and problems associated with arthritis pain, contact the orthopedic specialists at Carle Mclean County Orthopedics today for a consultation to learn about what options are available for you to live your best life.
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