How is foot and ankle arthritis treated without surgery?

Foot and ankle arthritis can be treated in many ways. Non-surgical methods to treat foot and ankle arthritis include:

  • Weight control.
  • Custom-made shoes or orthotics.
  • Inserts that support the ankle and foot.
  • Bracing for joint suport.
  • Using a cane or walker to take stress off the affected joint.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the joints.
  • Pain relievers.
  • Steroid medication injected into the joints.

What surgical treatments can help to treat foot and ankle arthritis?

More than one kind of surgery may be required to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor can select the kind of surgery that is best for you, depending on the type and extent of the arthritis you have. The following are some of the surgical options for foot and ankle arthritis:

  • Arthroscopic surgery: This kind of surgery can help in early stages of arthritis. In arthroscopic surgery, an arthroscope (a small instrument about the size of a pencil) is inserted into a joint. The instrument projects an image onto a monitor that is viewed by a surgeon. The surgeon can then use tiny forceps, knives, and shavers to clean the joint area. Arthroscopic surgery can help to remove any foreign tissues or bony outgrowths (spurs) that are present in the joint.
  • Fusion surgery: This kind of surgery, also called arthrodesis, involves fusing bones together with the use of rods, pins, screws, or plates. After healing, the bones remain fused together.
  • Joint replacement surgery: This kind of surgery involves replacing the ankle joint with artificial implants and is used only in rare cases.

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