What Is Arthritis?

Around 1 in 4 American adults, or almost 58.5 million people, live with arthritis. This is a common disorder where the joints swell and become tender. The joint cartilage also wears away, which causes pain and inflammation. Arthritis worsens with age but can affect men, women, and even children of any age. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis. Most joints are at risk of arthritis, but the foot and ankle are particularly vulnerable. In some cases, arthrodesis of the foot and ankle may be necessary.

3 Things to Know Before Your FESS surgery

Can arthrodesis help aching joints?

One surgical treatment that a doctor may recommend is joint fusion surgery or arthrodesis. The procedure fuses or joins 2 bones that make up the aching joint. After the procedure, the 2 bones become 1 fused solid bone, minimizing pain. Doctors usually recommend foot arthrodesis when arthritis pain is already severe, and other non-surgical approaches fail. With arthrodesis, doctors can treat joints like the spine, ankle, wrist, finger, thumb, and feet.

Ankle arthrodesis

Ankle arthrodesis fuses the ankle bones to relieve pain from the tibiotalar or subtalar joints. The surgery involves removing diseased cartilage and bone spurs, then securing the ankle for fusion. However, before recommending this procedure, arthritis affecting the ankle may benefit from hot and cold therapy, corticosteroid injections, or medication. In addition, a healthy diet, activity modification, or supportive devices such as orthotics, braces, and shoe inserts can help. Surgery is a helpful option when these treatments fail.

Time for fusion

The surgeon will first make an incision on the ankle to access the cartilage and bones. Next, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage from the ends of each ankle bone. The bones are compressed and positioned, then secured with plates, nails, screws, and other necessary hardware. A bone graft may also be used to aid in bone healing and fusion. Sometimes, the doctor may opt to perform this surgery with a minimally invasive approach, inserting a tiny camera through a smaller incision. Minimally invasive fusion means less pain, less risk, and better outcomes.

Risks and possible complications

The primary and most significant risk of ankle fusion is nonunion, where the ankle bones do not fuse properly after the surgery. Nonunion happens in about 12% of ankle fusions. Another risk is increasing the rate of arthritis since the joints in the foot could become more stressed. Other possible complications include adverse reactions to anesthesia, blood clotting, bleeding, infection, and damage to nerves or blood vessels.

Outcome and recovery

Around 90% of ankle fusion surgeries are successful. Patients need at least 6-12 weeks of recovery before placing weight on the ankle. Once patients can walk, the doctor will prescribe a boot or cast to protect the ankle. A physical therapist can help loosen stiff joints and regain range of motion.

A pain-free ankle with fusion

Constant pain in the foot or ankle that flares up with vigorous activity could be arthritis. Some patients may also experience tenderness, swelling, warmth, redness, and difficulty walking. If any of these symptoms persist and start to limit movement, consult a doctor. A fusion may be the solution to getting back to moving and enjoying life again.

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“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”
“The nurses were very nice and caring!”

“Marcia and staff were excellent and genuinely cared for my well being. Wish I could have taken them home.”

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“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”
“Dr. Best…is the best!”

“Everyone was concerned with my comfort.”

“The staff was great, especially Mary and Marcia. Marcia was extremely helpful post-op and made sure I was comfortable and well-cared for.”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“Dr. Dedhia made everything clear and even scheduled an early follow-up appt so I could get back to work sooner.”
“NO wait time, RN Rebecca answered all questions prior to my visit by phone and again answered all questions and concerns while prepping me.”
“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”
“Efficiency of the staff. Courteous, friendly and caring attitude. Excellent office staff. Pleasant surroundings.”

“Anesthesia staff was outstanding!”

“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“Entire staff was knowledgeable and courteous. They genuinely cared for my well being and made sure my wife and I were taken care of.”

“Dr. Dedhia made everything clear and even scheduled an early follow-up appt so I could get back to work sooner.”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“Rebecca was amazing. I have always had trouble in the past with getting an IV started. I told Rebecca I was concerned about it. She got it on the 1st try – no digging in my arm and NO bruising the next day.”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“Entire staff was knowledgeable and courteous. They genuinely cared for my well being and made sure my wife and I were taken care of.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“Everyone was concerned with my comfort.”

“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”
“Dr. Best…is the best!”

“I can’t say enough about Marcia and the entire team. The care I received was well beyond anything I could have expected.”

“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”
“NO wait time, RN Rebecca answered all questions prior to my visit by phone and again answered all questions and concerns while prepping me.”
“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”
“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”
“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”
“Incredibly professional, friendly and confidence of knowing their roles as healthcare employees. Excellent!”

“I can’t say enough about Marcia and the entire team. The care I received was well beyond anything I could have expected.”

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