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Patients Say Foot and Ankle Surgery Relieves Arthritis Pain

  [ 20 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • February 27, 2002

A new survey presented by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons reports two in three patients who had surgery to treat arthritis in the foot or ankle say they have experienced significant pain relief, and more than half have increased their physical activity as a result.

Patients from Colorado, Texas, and Illinois who had foot or ankle surgery within the past two years to treat conditions caused by arthritis were chosen for the survey. Surgical procedures performed included ankle arthroscopy, joint replacement, joint removal, fusion and remodeling, to clean out the affected joint.

According to the survey, eighty-four percent of the respondents identified pain relief as a desired outcome of the surgery, and 61 percent said they hoped to increase their physical activity following surgery. In addition, two-thirds of respondents reported their surgery was more than 80 percent successful in relieving their arthritis pain, and more than half said that they had increased their physical activity by 50 percent or more since having surgery.

"These results should be good news for anyone suffering with painful arthritis in the foot or ankle. Arthroscopy and other foot and ankle procedures are successful in treating the large majority of these cases by relieving pain and restoring movement," said ACFAS President Robert W. Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process that affects bones and joints and slowly progresses with advancing age. It also can result from fractures and ankle sprains that were not treated appropriately or didn't heal properly. Surgery to repair or reconstruct an arthritic joint usually is required when arthritis leads to chronic foot and ankle pain, limited motion and foot and ankle deformities, such as bunions, hammertoes and adult-acquired flatfoot. Mendicino said patient quality of life can be significantly improved by surgery to relieve arthritic pain and to restore lost motion.

"Ankle arthroscopy, for example, can remove products of arthritic damage and most patients can resume normal activity in several days. This procedure often eliminates the need for more invasive surgery. However, in advanced cases, ankle joint replacement or fusion might be equally rewarding for patients with disabling arthritic pain," he explained.

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