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You don’t have to live with ankle pain. Depending on the severity of your problem, medication, bracing or surgery can help, says Robert Berry, DO, medical director of sports medicine at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. If the damage to your ankle is limited to a smaller area, conservative options such as anti-inflammatories and injections can help keep the pain under control. Bracing, which prevents the ankle joint from moving, can also work for some people. If your doctor recommends surgery, there are several options:
Arthroscopy—this minimally invasive technique can remove damaged cartilage, bone spurs and scar tissue.
Microfracture—this procedure creates small fractures in the bone, which cause new cartilage to develop.
Fusion—with ankle fusion, the bones of the ankle are bonded together, preventing the movement that’s causing pain. “Fusion is the gold standard, but there are also options for intractable pain secondary to arthritis that requires more impact or strenuous activities.” Dr. Berry says. “Ankle fusion is a good possible solution for those with severe deformity and pain.”
Ankle replacement—as with other joint replacement surgeries, ankle replacements can also be performed. This procedure involves resurfacing the bones of the ankle joint. You will not be able to participate in impact sports after the procedure, but you will able to walk and remain active. Ankle replacements don’t usually last as long as hip or knee replacements, but Dr. Berry says you and your surgeon can decide together if replacement or fusion is the best option for you.
Learn how to keep your feet and ankles healthy at our free women's health event, For Women For Life. Register now. For a referral to an orthopedic surgeon on the Baylor Plano medical staff, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or visit BaylorHealth.com/PlanoOrtho.
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