Minor injuries start to wear down ankle joint over time, and when the ankle is

moved out of alignment briefly during a sprain, it causes friction between the soft ends of

the bone. The soft ends can wear down causing bone on bone erosion. Repeated sprains

hasten the process. When the bones of the ankle joint are broken, that type of trauma to

the joint can occur in a much faster period of time.

More patients are seeking relief for painful ankles and this trend plays out in the

examining rooms of many foot and ankle surgeons every day, but seems to worsen in

winter months. Colder weather and rain can sometimes make patients able to “predict”

weather changes due to the pain it elicits. Changes in the barometric pressure cause

pressure changes inside painful joints.

Some ankle pain patients are in agony and describe a constant pain, stiffness, and

difficulty bearing weight. Their lack of mobility can affect even simple things like

putting on shoes.

When patients come into the office for a long term solution for chronic ankle pain

the only option was fusion of the bones in the ankle. Now there are total ankle

replacements to offer. More patients are inquiring about total ankle replacement surgery

now more than ever, because the fusion surgery previously used as a gold standard did

not sound appealing. Fusions of the ankle lock the ankle into a fixed position. Ankle

replacement surgeries maintain and even add more motion to an existing limited ankle

range of motion. Many patients are more apt to keep the motion of the ankle, rather than

losing it.

Physicians emphasize that ankle fusion surgery is a last-resort treatment for

patients with painful arthritic ankles. With the total ankle replacement surgery, fusion

can come later if preferred.

For many patients braces, injections, ankle arthroscopy, and ankle replacement

surgery can provide relief before any surgery is needed.

When the pain of an ankle interferes with daily activities, it's time to discuss

surgical options, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Ashley Ledger, Doctor of Podiatry, is Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery

and is a member of the Medical Staff at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights.

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Seton Medical Center Harker Heights does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. For further information about this policy, contact: our Patient Advocate at 254-680-6210.

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights is accredited by the Joint Commission

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