Your Health: Dealing with ankle arthritis

Health Reports

For people with ankle arthritis, every step can be a struggle. When medication and bracing don’t bring relief, patients may look for surgical options.

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This long time fitness instructor teaches spin to serious athletes, but for most of her adult life, Tina has had crippling pain in her left ankle.

“Because there’s no cartilage in the ankle joint basically, I was bone-on-bone,” said Tina Burd, Patient.

She has worn braces and boots, done therapy and visited countless orthopedic doctors.

“I’ll be honest, I seriously asked a couple of doctors and contemplated amputation,” said Burd.

Lew Schon is not only an accomplished keyboard player, but an orthopedic specialist. Schon uses skilled hands to perform delicate foot and ankle surgeries.

When medication and injection fail to relieve pain, patients can either fuse the ankle joint, or replace it. For patients with a history of infection or bone disease, fusing or welding together the two bones that make the joint might be the best option.

“Get rid of the joint, stop the motion, stop the pain,” said Lew Schon, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon.

But fusing prevents the back and forth flexing motion, so Tina resisted. Five years ago, Doctor Schon replaced the joint.

“The ankle replacement allows us to remove the diseased cartilage and bone, realign the ankle and replace the surfaces with metal and plastic,” said Dr. Schon.

With the replacement, Tina can do everything she want to do, except run. She and her pup choose to walk instead.

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