It is hard to believe but true. Nearly 25% of the bones in your body are found in your ankles and feet. So, you can likely see the big problem potential here. If you have a problem even with one small bone, it can affect all of the other bones in that area.
What normally happens is that there is either an injury or some “wear and tear” arthritis in a bone and the next thing you know, you have a lot more stress on the thirty joints in your foot and arthritis is right behind that.
The good news is that this is normally detected fairly early. And, it can be managed with medication or inserts in your shoe or both. Even splints and braces can be used to ease back the pain and get your alignment back in order. Even with all that potential for treatment, if your pain continues than surgery has to be considered.
When the arthritis in your ankle is in its early stages, the surgeon can go in and clean out the debris and bony overgrowth that has occurred. This is called debridement.
And, if your arthritis has advanced significantly, the surgeon can turn to bone fusion. In this case, the surgeon wants to eliminate the motion that in turn gets rid of the pain. The surgeon first remove the cartilage between the affected bones. Then he or she uses plates, stainless steel rods or screws to join them together.
If that is ineffective, the surgeon can look at a complete ankle replacement. That will be the subject of our next article.
Until then, be well.