If you suffer from arthritis you have more in common with celebrities like Lucille Ball and Kathleen Turner than you probably thought. They also suffered the pain of this joint condition. Whether it’s in your foot, ankle, or somewhere else, you know the discomfort it can cause. When conservative treatments fail, it may be time to resort to more invasive treatment options, such as surgery.
Arthritis is a condition that affects your joints. There are different types, but osteoarthritis is the most common kind. It is a “wear and tear” disease, which means that it affects people as they age. This type destroys the joint cartilage and causes redness and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that can affect anyone of any age, even children. This type damages the joint lining, or synovium. RA is more likely to occur in the foot and ankle, but can be found anywhere in the body.
Some of the conservative treatments that people try include medications, steroid injections, using a walker or cane, weight loss, physical therapy, and custom-made orthotics. If none of these make a difference for your pain, you might need to consider surgery as an option. There are different types of surgery that may be right for your unique case. Surgery may include cleaning the joint that is in pain, removing areas of the joint that are causing pain, or replacing the joint with an artificial one. Sometimes combinations of these are necessary. Surgery has high success rates, especially when you follow the post-operative instructions given by your doctor down to the letter. You will need to rest your foot for at least one week and then probably use crutches for a while. You may also need to engage in physical therapy or wear a custom orthotic as prescribed by your doctor.
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