If you've been living with osteoarthritis of the ankle for years, you may have already adapted your lifestyle to accommodate your chronic ankle pain -- from scouting out benches or sitting areas whenever you venture out in public to always toting a bottle of acetaminophen or ibuprofen with you to keep your pain at a manageable level. However, you may be anxious for a more long-term solution, particularly if you're on the younger side and hope to have many more active years in front of you. What are your best treatment options for ankle arthritis? Should you have your ankle fused or seek a total replacement? Read on to learn more about some of the treatment options available to you, from short-term solutions to long-term cures.
What are some relatively non-invasive treatments for ankle arthritis?
For those who aren't yet ready to commit to ankle surgery, cortisone injections in the ankle could be a good way to control the pain and limited range of motion you may be experiencing. These injections can help reduce pain in the immediate area while also providing some additional lubrication that will help the joint rotate without nearly as much friction. Cortisone shots are especially useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis, as this condition can cause bone-on-bone contact that leads to bone spurs and other complications in the absence of this type of lubricating fluid.
However, cortisone shots don't last forever, and you'll need to have these injections repeated on a regular basis to continue to enjoy relief from pain. Over time, these injections may become less effective as your body begins to process the cortisone more quickly or it begins to wear away at the remaining cartilage in your ankle.
What are your long-term treatment options?
If your ankle has already passed the point at which cortisone injections could bring you some relief, you may want to consider ankle "fusion" (formally known as ankle arthrodesis). During this surgery, your ankle is fused in place with bone screws to prevent the twisting or flexing movements that bring you pain. Ankle fusion can have a lengthy recovery period during which you won't be able to place any weight on your ankle, but once your bone has begun to grow around the fusing screws, you'll be able to bear weight and walk normally.
Another option may be a total ankle replacement. This is usually the best choice only if you're not a good candidate for ankle fusion, as the ankle's complexity has made it difficult for medical supply manufacturers to create a functional and durable artificial ankle joint. However, if the cartilage in your ankle has degraded enough that fusing it will only make the pain worse, an ankle replacement can leave you feeling like a new person. To learn more, contact a clinic like Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois.
I am one of those people who hates going to the doctor. In the past, I have relied on everything from cranberry juice to apple cider vinegar to fix my ails. As I get older though, I find that I need to rely more on traditional medicine than I did in the past. What I found out from my doctor is that I did not have to give up the holistic medicines I used. I could combine them. This blog is designed to help others focus on how to combing holistic treatments with traditional medicine in a safe and fun way.