Ankle arthritis may have many underlying causes. This can occur due to a prior fracture, inflammatory arthritis, repeated ankle sprains and instability, gout, foot deformities etc.
Early ankle arthritis associated with bone spurs and pain can also be managed with an ankle arthroscopy and resection of the spurs and treatment of cartilage defects to restore function and relieve pain in the ankle. In the intermediate stages of arthritis, osteotomy or correction of deformity to relive pressure on the ankle cartilage can also be a good option.
In the later stages of arthritis the options would be either a fusion (arthrodesis) of the ankle or an ankle replacement. This can be a decision that takes into account the age and activity level needed, the specific demands of the ankle and the condition of the skin and soft-tissues to name a few factors. Advancements in techniques have made both options a good choice and every patient should have a discussion with their surgeon on the pros and cons of each option. With increasing experience in ankle replacement, joint motion can be preserved which can be a great advantage for daily activities. See our video below which shows the motion after a successful ankle replacement.