Chronic ankle pain is a very common occurrence which can be very debilitating. There are many causes of chronic ankle pain but today we will focus on ankle pain associated with osteoarthritis and in post traumatic arthritis.
Symptoms range from pain at rest, pain with weight bearing and restricted motion across the ankle joint. Pain intensity and character can be affected with changes in weather. Cold and rain seems to bring about a flare.
First step is a proper and thorough physical exam followed by ankle Xrays that we take in our office. It is common to find loss of joint space with bone spurring within the ankle joint on Xrays. Advanced imaging such as CT scans and MRIs are often required.
Initial Treatment usually includes Range of motion exercises, steroid injections, bracing, formal physical therapy, shoe gear modifications, anti inflammatory medications, topical painkillers, PRP injections, amniotic growth factor injections and viscosupplementation injection. These treatment modalities can provide relief to our patients and many times we can delay surgery or avoid it by conservative approaches described above.
Some patients however have extensive damage to the articulating surface of the ankle joint and require a different approach. At times, we can offer arthroscopic debridement (clean out) of the ankle joint which requires only two 1-2 cm incisions on the front of your ankle.
Many times conservative treatments do not provide complete relief to our patients. Based on their age, lifestyle requirements and overall health we can utilize more extensive surgeries including ankle joint fusion and total ankle replacement.
Recovery varies based on the choice of procedure. After Ankle arthroscopic debridement patients usually walk right away in a CAM ( controlled ankle motion) walker. Ankle fusion and replacement protocols typically involve non-weightbearing with cast and crutches until the bone heals, a process that can take 6 weeks to 12 weeks.
Make an appointment with us and lets undergo a full examination to address your condition and a detailed treatment options which will include conservative, advanced and surgical options if indicated.
Danniyal Shahid MD, DPM, AACFAS
Associate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery