BACKGROUND: Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It can occur at any age, and literally means "pain within a joint." As a result, arthritis is a term used broadly to refer to a number of different conditions. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available. It is important to seek help early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. With treatment, people with arthritis are able to manage pain, stay active, and live fulfilling lives, often without surgery.
TREATMENT: Depending on the type, location, and severity of the arthritis, there are many types of treatment available. There are non surgical options including pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, shoe inserts (orthotics), such as pads or arch supports, custom-made shoe, such as a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker bottom, an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), a brace or a cane, physical therapy and exercises, weight control or nutritional supplements, and medications, such as a steroid medication injected into the joint. There are also several surgical treatments such as arthroscopic debridement, arthrodesis (or fusion of the joints), and arthroplasty (replacement of the affected joint). (Source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org)
WALKING AGAIN:The Salto Talaris Total Ankle Prosthesis is a member of Tornier`s Salto family of ankle arthroplasty systems which have been designed for the treatment of patients as an alternative to ankle fusion for patients with intractable ankle pain. The original Salto Total Ankle Prosthesis, a three part mobile-bearing implant, has been in use in Europe since 1997. The Salto Talaris Total Ankle Prosthesis was first implanted in the United States in December 2006 and has since established a leadership position in the total ankle prosthesis market. As with the entire Salto product line, the Salto Talaris was designed to simulate the anatomy and motion of the normal ankle, while also facilitating the surgical procedure and minimizing bone loss. The Salto Talaris is a precision-bearing design that is implanted utilizing instrumentation that has been designed to maximize the anatomic placement of device components. (Source: http://www.reuters.com)
“The ankle replacement works similar to a hip or a knee replacement, although the anatomy is different. The ankle replacement has to restore the exact anatomy that you remove in order to replace the ankle,” Brian Donley, MD, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic told Ivanhoe. “An ankle replacement works by taking away the end of the tibia bone, which is the top of the ankle and taking away the top of the talus bone, which is the ankle bone and then replacing those with two metal parts.”
Complications can include slow healing, as well as infection. Severe complications are rare, but they can result in amputation. The new models require that less bone be removed, so the bone to which the device is affixed is stronger. In addition, instruments used to guide surgeons in aligning the artificial joint have improved. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com)
Brian Donley, MD, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, talks about new technology is helping arthritis sufferers.
When you saw Jacquelinewhat was her problem?
Dr. Donley: Jacqueline had a difficult problem, she had a lot of arthritis not just in her ankle but she also had a lot of arthritis in her foot. Jacqueline required two different operations in order to reconstruct her and allow her to regain mobility without pain.
She needed a fusion and an ankle replacement?
Dr. Donley: In her first stage of reconstruction she needed an operation to take away the pain and stabilize the foot and that consisted of a fusion. We call that a triple arthrodesis, where we take three joints, fuse those three joints together by putting in screws and plates and hardware. Once she healed from that operation then that allowed us to address her ankle and she had a lot of arthritis in her ankle. Because she had such a stiff foot, she was a great candidate then for an ankle replacement to take away her pain in the ankle but allow her to continue with motion.
Where was the fusion?
Dr. Donley: The fusion was in the foot in the joints below the ankle. So we call that the subtalar joint and the transverse tarsal joint.
You hear of problems with back fusion, is that similar with the foot?
Dr. Donley: The fusions in the foot actually work really well. They take away some motion, which a patient misses, but you trade it in for great pain relief. A fusion in the foot is still a pretty standard operation. The challenge is that if you fuse the foot you can’t also fuse the ankle because they end up really stiff. If you do a foot fusion those patients usually are best with an ankle replacement if they need an operation on their ankle for arthritis.
How long have you been doing ankle replacements?
Dr. Donley: I have been doing ankle replacements since 2006 when newer generation designs became available.
Tell me how the ankle replacement works.
Dr. Donley: The ankle replacement works similar to a hip or a knee replacement, although the anatomy is different. The ankle replacement has to restore the exact anatomy that you remove in order to replace the ankle. An ankle replacement works by taking away the end of the tibia bone, which is the top of the ankle and taking away the top of the talus bone, which is the ankle bone and then replacing those with two metal parts.
Are they metal?
Dr. Donley: The ankle components are made up of different types of metal, which replace the top of the talus bone and replace the bottom of the tibia bone. Then in between there’s a piece of plastic which we call polyethylene.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Dr. Donley: The challenges of the ankle replacement are that the ankle is a much smaller joint and there are actually three different joints in a very close area there. You have your ankle joint and then you also have what we call your syndesmotic joint, which is your connection between your tibia bone and your fibula bone and then right below there you have your subtalar joint, which is a connection between your talus and your calcaneus. There’s a lot of motion and a lot of complex anatomy going on, which does make the ankle replacement a challenge.
Do you have to replace all three of those?