Treatment for arthritis will depend on which joint is involved and how badly it has been damaged. Sometimes the treatment will involve an insole for the patient’s shoes to alter the forces across the relevant joint, often combined with an injection into the joint to reduce acute inflammation. If the cartilage is very badly damaged the joint may be ‘fused’ surgically. This means joining the two affected bones together, so that there is no movement and therefore pain is reduced or eliminated.
The ankle is a joint where arthritis most commonly occurs. There are also three surgical options depending on the severity of the arthritis. For early disease ‘arthroscopy’ can be performed – keyhole surgery using a small camera where the joint is looked at and bony spurs are removed to improve movement of the joint. Ankle fusions can be used for those with more advanced arthritis or, for some patients, an ankle replacement may be a more beneficial option.