What is Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle arthritis is the loss of cartilage between the tibia and the talus or the shin bone in the ankle bone. Typically this is caused in post traumatic situations or someone who’s had a previous ankle fracture or recurrent ankle sprains. Unlike the hip and the knee just normal wear and tear arthritis is really not that common in the ankle and 90% are in that post traumatic patient population. When a patient has advanced ankle arthritis we always start with non-surgical treatment because the wrist profile is much less so that would be things like physical therapy, bracing and injections. When those are no longer effective or the patient is just not a candidate for some of those, that’s when we would consider a surgical intervention. The two options for surgical intervention and ankle arthritis are both fusion or ankle arthrodesis, and replacement or ankle arthroplasty. These are both excellent pain relievers, but depending on age, functional status and risk profile, may lead us to recommend one over the other in a certain patient.


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