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Arthritis is caused by the wearing down of the cartilage lining that protects your joint. When this happens, the bones rub on each other, causing increased pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint.
At University of Maryland Orthopaedics our foot and ankle specialists relieve the pain of arthritis with a variety of treatments — from conservative non-operative techniques to minimally invasive procedures to ankle replacement.
Arthritis often occurs as a result of age and wear and tear on the joints, though it can also be caused by autoimmune conditions or a traumatic incident.
Diagnosing foot and ankle arthritis entails a medical history, a gait analysis to study your walking and some diagnostic imaging tests, which could be an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray.
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Treatment
Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be very successful in treating ankle pain from mild arthritis as well as from sports injuries, scar tissue, cartilage and bone injuries and more.
Ankle arthroscopy can also be used to assist in ligament reconstruction for those with unstable ankles as well as patients with fractures that affect the ankle joint.
Most ankle arthroscopy procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can often walk as tolerated after the procedure. Most procedures are done with a nerve block. This means patients are awake during the procedure, and it has lasting effects keeping them relatively comfortable for one to three days after surgery.
Ankle Replacement for Arthritis
Like artificial hips and knees, this operation replaces both sides of the joint with metal parts with a plastic spacer between the metal parts to allow movement. Learn more about ankle replacement at UMMC.
Younger and very active patients may do better with an ankle fusion, rather than an ankle replacement, because a replacement may wear out too fast. Patients with severe deformities or prior infection may also be better served with an ankle fusion.
In this procedure, surgeons fuse two or more of the bones of your ankle into one piece, using hardware such as plates or screws. Depending on the specifics of your condition, it may be done as minimally invasive surgery.