Arizona Orthopedic Surgery Solutions for Ankle Arthritis
What is Ankle Arthritis
Common symptoms of ankle arthritis are joint sensitivity, soreness, warmth, and inflammation. Other key characteristics include pain when trying to move, bear weight, or walk on the joint. It is normal for there to be pain and swelling after sitting down or sleeping.
Ankle Arthritis Diagnosis
After asking about medical history, a doctor will manipulate the patient’s foot and ankle, taking note of any swelling, areas of agitation, sore muscles or tendons, and range of motion. A doctor may also want to observe the patient walk about the room to analyze the way they bear their weight. Following a physical exam, X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans may be used to confirm there is no other injury to the ankle, such as a tear or fracture.
Ankle Arthritis Treatment - Non Surgical
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counters can help with minor pain, while Cortisone or other steroid injection into the joint may be needed for more severe cases. Heel gels, cushioning insoles, or custom orthotics may be needed to support your feet and ankles. A cane, brace, or other assistive devices may be used to manage arthritis. Stretches to strengthen your ankle include Achilles stretch, big-toe stretch, toe pull, and toe curl. Menthol creams will provide temporary pain relief by inhibiting signals of pain being sent from the ankle’s nerves. Ice will assist with inflammation while heat will help with muscle spasms. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming, biking, elliptical machines, yoga, and tai chi are all great ways to manage arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements will additionally help as well. Maintain a healthy weight to put the least amount of stress possible on your joints.
Ankle Arthritis Treatment - Surgical
There are two main surgeries for ankle arthritis. The first is fusion surgery, known as arthrodesis. This is a procedure where joint cartilage is removed so the bones can attach together into one bone. Screws and plates are normally used to hold the bones in place while the bones “fuse” together. Sometimes rods and pins are used as well. Once healed, the bones have successfully become one. In more dire circumstances, joint replacement surgery is performed. Joint replacement surgery, known as arthroplasty, is where bones and cartilage beyond saving are taken out and exchanged with metal and plastic.