Arthritis and Other Joint Diseases
Arthritis or Osteoarthritis
Arthritis or osteoarthritis is an ankle joint disease caused by the progressive loss of cartilage due to injury, infection, or age. Arthritis causes the joint to swell become damaged and stiff, become painful even in rest position. Therapy can be either conservative or surgical. The surgery includes different possibilities such as removal of spurs by arthroscopy, total ankle replacement, or arthrodesis.
What is arthrodesis?
In ankle arthrodesis the three bones of the ankle joint are fused together eliminating the joint, which, in most cases has a very limited range of motion due to arthritis or deformity.
Total Ankle Replacement
Total ankle replacement is one way to treat ankle arthritis. Modern implants are available and deliver promising results and conservation of range of motion.
Ankle Sprain and Instability
Ankle sprain is the most common injury of the foot and ankle, characterized by a swollen ankle. Recurrent ankle sprains can cause injury of an ankle ligament and ankle tendon, and lead to ankle instability. A recurrent ankle sprain can also cause pain and a lesion of the ankle cartilage. Ankle sprains should be treated properly with orthotics and physiotherapy to prevent long-term ankle instability and recurrent sprains. In the case of permanent ankle instability, surgical ligament suture and augmentation can restore stability.
Cartilage in the ankle joint can be subject to injury or progressively deterioration with age, known as osteoarthritis. Depending on the size and localization of the injury, different surgical treatment options can be applied: abrasion arthroplasty, microfracture, mosaicplasty, cartilage cell culturing (MACI), or autologous matrix induced chondrogenesis (AMIC). The aim of these techniques is to restore the cartilage to reduce pain and restore joint function. Some of these techniques – such as, abrasion arthroplasty, microfracture or AMIC – can be performed by arthroscopy.
What is arthroscopy? Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical method where a small camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments are introduced into the ankle joint through two very small incisions. Arthroscopy can be applied to treat impingement, problems of the cartilage or a loose body, which can arise after an ankle sprain or a broken ankle. Arthroscopy is a very effective treatment method with minimal risk. The advantages of performing an arthroscopy include reduced recovery time, higher probability of surgical success due to less damage to the connective tissue, and less scarring.
As is the case with forefoot problems, insoles constitute an important part of treatment of problems of the ankle and hindfoot. Insoles help to stabilise and support your foot alleviating the pain in your foot. Depending on the problem with your foot, either classic or podologic insoles can be applied.
Apart from insoles, physiotherapy is one of the main columns of conservative treatment of the hindfoot, including the ankle joint. If physiotherapy is required, I will refer you to one of my selected partners.