Arthritis of the ankle happens to be one of the most problematic and contentious forms of arthritis to effectively and safely deal with and the reason for this is due to the nature of the ankle itself. The ankle is one of the most complicated and carefully designed parts of the body, designed to manage and handle a significant amount of weight through a small surface area. However, the problem is that whenever arthritis occurs, the range of actual options available to the patient are extremely limited indeed.
Ankle fusion, or to use the medical term, ankle arthrodesis, is one of the most commonly relied upon methods of dealing with arthritis of the ankle, and it has widely been considered as the gold standard of treatment for orthopedic surgeons across the world. In the 70’s, ankle replacement technology was devised, and was experimented with with diasterous results and with high rates of failure, infection, and limited usability of the technology rendered it fairly useless. The worst was yet to come: as a direct consequence of the severe failure of the technology as a whole, this meant that the patients would find themselves enduring an amputation.
Why is ankle fusion such a risky and controversial issue?
To date, there is no cure for any form of arthritis, least of all arthritis of the ankle. Therefore, in order to remedy and alleviate the pain of the arthritic ankle, the ankle fusion procedure will involve the surgical removal of the talus joint, which is the hinged joint that will connect the tibula and fibula together. In effect then, the reason that ankle fusion works with dealing with ankle arthritis is due to the fact that it involves the removal of the arthritic joint.
Unfortunately, this means that the natural motion and functionality of the ankle is totally altered forever, and so the remaining parts of the foot will be required to pick up the slack so to speak. This means that a significant amount of pressure is imposed through the remaining parts of the foot, which in turn, leaves them much more vulnerable to the onset of arthritis.
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