Ankle arthritis is a common condition treated by foot and ankle specialists. Ankle arthritis happens when the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones of the ankle joint deteriorates and causes the space between the bones to decrease and the bones start to rub together. Ankle arthritis can be caused from multiple different issues such as primary osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or posttraumatic arthritis.
Ankle arthritis is diagnosed after a thorough history and physical exam with your foot and ankle provider. X-rays are an important part of determining the severity of the arthritis.
In mild to moderate ankle arthritis that has failed conservative treatment ankle arthroscopy maybe utilized to help repair cartilage injuries and remove bone spurs. The well-trained foot and ankle physicians at Central Florida Bone and Joint Institute specializes in minimally invasive surgery, where a camera is inserted into the ankle joint and small instrumentation is utilized to perform the repair with only two small incisions. Ankle arthroscopy may completely resolve patient's pain, or may allow for prolonged time prior to further more invasive procedures.
An ankle fusion is a procedure where the remaining cartilage of the ankle joint is removed and the bones of the ankle joint are surgically connected and will unite into one osseous structure, effectively eliminating motion and pain to the arthritic ankle joint. Some patients are apprehensive to undergo ankle fusions due to the belief that they will have a very rigid lower extremity and inability to walk. The foot and the ankle are extremely effective in adapting. There are multiple other joints within the foot that help to allow for range of motion and pain-free ambulation. Ankle fusion is utilized in patients where the surrounding joints have minimal arthritis already present. In patients that have diffuse arthritis ankle joint replacement and implant may be recommended.
Dr. Villani is one of the few highly trained surgeons in Florida and the only surgeon within Volusia and Seminole that is certified in total ankle replacements. He is trained and certified on all of the current total ankle replacements that are available on the market today. He currently utilizes specific CT guided total ankle replacements. Prior to surgery a special CT scan is ordered on the patient. This allows for an exact model of the patient’s ankle joint to be made and patient specific cutting blocks are present during the surgery to help increase precision and decrease operative time.
In a total ankle replacement surgery, any remaining cartilage and bone spurs are removed and the arthritic joint is then resurfaced. Metallic implants are then utilized to cover the ends of the affected bones and a spacer is then inserted which allows for continued pain-free motion to the ankle joint.
**Disclaimer: Treatment recommendations may vary depending on your true diagnosis. Always follow the recommendations of your orthopedic provider.