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Ankle deformities may be the result of injury, a congenital birth defect, degenerative changes brought on by age, or they can result from neuromuscular conditions and diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Serious ankle deformities can interfere with daily activities, and can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities or maintain employment. When conservative methods of treatment fail to relieve ankle pain, ankle surgery is the only solution.
Reasons for treatment
Serious ankle deformities often fail to respond to non-surgical treatment. Ankle surgery is the next logical step. Ankle surgery can be used to eliminate the deformity, relieve joint pain and stiffness, and increase activity level.
For many patients, ankle surgery provides the only means of restoring normal function to the foot and ankle.
How ankle surgery is performed
Ankle surgery is designed to correct ankle deformities and improve bone structure, allowing for normal movement of the foot and increased function of the ankle joint.
There are several types of ankle surgeries available to correct deformities. Treatment may involve a fusion of the tibia and talus; this is known as an ankle fusion procedure. During this type of ankle fusion, small incisions are made near the front of the ankle, and joint cartilage is removed. Screws or rods are placed in the ankle to allow bones to heal in proper alignment.
Degeneration of the ankle joint from injury or arthritis may necessitate an ankle replacement procedure. During this procedure, the ankle joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint.
The primary goal of ankle surgery is to address deformities and reconstruct the proper architecture of the foot. Both internal and external fixation devices may be used to support the foot and keep it aligned during the healing process. There is often an extended recovery period associated with these types of ankle procedures and physical therapy might be necessary following surgery to strengthen the ankle joint.
Consult a podiatrist to learn more about the different types of ankle surgery available to treat painful ankle deformities.