Treatment for Ankle Arthritis in Houston, TX
Arthritis is an inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. This can be either from Trauma to the ankle and foot, degenerative
conditions "Wear and Tear", or inherited conditions. Arthritis is a disabling and occasionally crippling disease afflicting almost 40 million Americans. Although the prevalence of arthritis increases with age,
all people from infancy to middle age are potential victims. People over 50 are the primary targets.
If the feet seem more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body, it is because each foot has 33 joints that can be afflicted, and there is no way to avoid the pain of the tremendous weight-bearing load on the feet. Arthritic feet can result in loss of mobility and independence. However, early diagnosis and proper medical care can limit or slow the damage.
Symptoms of arthritis in the foot and ankle include:
- Early morning stiffness.
- Limitation in motion of joint.
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint.
- Redness or heat in a joint.
- Skin changes, including rashes and growths.
- Swelling in one or more joints.
Ankle Arthritis Treatment:
Due to the varying degrees of arthritis in joints and the varying location of the joints in the foot and ankle, the symptoms may be very minor to severe disabling pain. Therefore, the treatment options range from very conservative such and nonsurgical treatment to more invasive options such as ankle fusion or the Total Ankle Replacement .
Conservative Treatment Options
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Topical Compounded pain medications
- Ankle bracing and supportive orthotics
- Steroid injections within the joints
- Series of Injection of "joint lubricants" Synvisc, Suparts, etc...
- Physical Therapy and non-invasive modalities
Surgical Treatment Options:
- Ankle Arthroscopy (Ankle Scope) - This procedure is minimally invasive with excellent results for the indicated pathology. We use this procedure to debride "clean out" the diseased cartilage and repair the bed with which new tissue can grow. Patients are up and walking within days of the procedure due to its minimally invasive characteristics!
- Cartilage Implant with Stem Cells - This procedure is performed with ankle arthroscopy. The advantage of this versus traditional microfracture techniques is that we are now able to grow new hyaline (real cartilage) in the ankle joint and other joints to allow for a pain-free function. There are only a few doctors in the state that offer this technology and Dr. Moss is one of the few that are trained and offer this technique. Patients are up and walking within weeks of the procedure!
- Arthroplasty and Exostectomies - These procedures are oftentimes combined with ankle arthroscopy to repair the damage that arthritis has done to the joints. Many times arthritis will form bone spurs and prominences that need to be removed. This procedure can usually be performed through the ankle scope however the joint may need to be opened up to fully allow access to the bone spurs.
- Osteotomies - These procedures are the repositioning of the affected joint so that the abnormal joint pressures are alleviated. This prevents the further progression of arthritis. We perform this procedure on many of the small bones in the foot for big toe joint pain (such as Bunion deformities, Hallux Limitus deformities, etc..). Often times the patient is walking in a boot right after these procedures.
- Ankle or Foot Joint Arthrodesis (Fusion) - If arthritis has progressed to its most advanced state, the joint becomes unsalvageable. We would therefore offer an arthrodesis of the joint to eliminate the pain. In the ankle, and arthrodesis has been the "Gold Standard " treatment option for decades. The arthrodesis is a procedure that actually mends "fuses" the two bones together and allows them to function as one without pain. The patient would then have a pain-free gait and return to normal activity. This procedure is reserved for the younger/more active patient and would allow them to return back to their normal activity without pain. We have many patients with ankle arthrodesis and one would not be able to see a limp or abnormality in their walking cycle. It's quite amazing to see this!
- Total Ankle Replacement with Implant - The ankle replacement is a procedure, performed by few surgeons, that offers pain-free range of motion and function for the severely arthritic joint. There are now ankle implants on the market that offer excellent long-term outcomes; very similar to the outcomes of the knee and hip replacements. Dr. Moss has a special interest in ankle replacement technology as it offers a dramatic change in the quality of life to the patient. He is currently trained to implant 4 different ankle implants. If you are interested in the ankle replacement, (CLICK HERE) , and you will be directed to our Ankle Replacement webpage for more information.