New Ankle Arthritis Treatments Help Boomers Stay Active
Foot and ankle surgeons discuss arthritis surgical advances.
There’s good news for active older adults who are plagued with arthritic ankles. Surgeons are rethinking treatment approaches for end-stage ankle arthritis.
Baby Boomers are more active than ever and don’t want to be held back by painful arthritis. While in the past pain-relieving ankle fusions were the gold standard for care, new surgical techniques, including arthroscopic ankle surgery, total ankle joint replacements and bone or cartilage replacement, are offering hope for those who want to remain active.
These advancements come at an opportune time since foot and ankle surgeons are seeing more patients with end-stage ankle arthritis as the population of older adults increases.
According to Pittsburgh-based foot and ankle surgeon Robert W. Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS, end-stage ankle arthritis is a painful condition and most often occurs after a traumatic injury, history of chronic sprains or in patients with diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. “A decade ago, treatment options were limited; patients either lived with the pain or underwent an ankle fusion,” he said. “But today, because of the medical advancements and new surgical techniques, Baby Boomers suffering from arthritis have additional, viable treatment options to keep them on their feet and enjoying their active lifestyle.”
One treatment option that has seen some of the most advancement is the use of ankle implants. “While still changing, the quality and design of the implants have drastically improved over the years,” Dr. Mendicino said. “Implants are now even more customized to the patient’s size, gender and uniqueness of their arthritis; it’s no longer a-one-size-fits-all world. This is especially important for maintaining functionality and range of motion in the ankle.”
Dr. Mendicino says the clear message for those suffering with debilitating arthritis is that new options are available. “It is recommended that patients consult with a foot an ankle surgeon who can provide them with the best course of treatment for the individual case.”