General Information

 

An estimated 36 million people suffer from some form of arthritis.  Many patients, particularly younger ones, have severe ankle injuries from twisting or falling accidents.  Some have had surgery consisting of internal fixation (i.e.,  plates and screws) or have undergone ankle fusions for injuries that have progressed to disabling arthritis.  The four common reasons for considering ankle replacement surgery include the following:

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis usually affects more than one joint.  The person’s immune system is affected and cartilage is destroyed by the person’s own body.
Osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as degenerative arthritis.  This is a “wear and tear” type of arthritis that deteriorates the cartilage after years of excessive activity so that the joint no longer moves smoothly.  There is usually pain, decreased range of motion, grinding and popping sounds. 
Post-traumatic arthritis is a trauma-related arthritis.  This type of arthritis results when the joint is injured by a fracture, dislocation and/or damage to the joint or cartilage surface.
Avascular necrosis (AVN) better known as osteonecrosis  “death of the bone”.  This condition appears to be related to a disruption of blood flow to the bone and can be the result of trauma, arterial thrombosis or embolism, venous or blood outflow occlusion.  It is also seen in people who chronically use corticosteriods or excessively consume alcohol.  

Arthritis appears to be the most frequent cause of pain and joint destruction. In the process of deterioration, the ankle joint wears out and the foot may turn in or out.  Most deformities can be corrected, however, the primary reason why a patient chooses an ankle replacement is to obtain pain relief and maintain ankle motion. 

Many orthopaedic surgeons will treat the affected joint with conservative measures and when these fail to offer relief, either total ankle replacement or ankle fusion may be recommended as options.  An ankle fusion has traditionally been the recommendation, however, there are detrimental long-term effects associated with fusion surgery.  Total Ankle Replacement provides a significantly positive alternative to fusion surgery.

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South Mountain Orthopaedic Associates
61 1st Street - South Orange, NJ 07079 - 973-762-8344

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