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Arthritis Ankle Treatments Help Seniors Stay Active

  • Published: 2010-02-24 : Author: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
  • Synopsis: Foot and ankle surgeons discuss arthritis surgical advances.

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New Ankle Arthritis Treatments Help Boomers Stay Active - Foot and ankle surgeons discuss arthritis surgical advances...

There's good news for active older adults who are plagued with arthritic ankles. Surgeons presenting today at the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' Annual Scientific Conference in Las Vegas are re-thinking treatment approaches for end-stage ankle arthritis.

Baby Boomers are more active than ever and don't want to be held back by painful arthritis. While in the past pain-relieving ankle fusions were the gold standard for care, new surgical techniques including arthroscopic ankle surgery, total ankle joint replacements and bone or cartilage replacement are offering hope for those wanting to remain active.

These advancements come at an opportune time since foot and ankle surgeons are seeing more patients with end-stage ankle arthritis as the population of older adults increases.

According to Pittsburgh-based foot and ankle surgeon Robert W. Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS, end-stage ankle arthritis is a painful condition and most often occurs after a traumatic injury, history of chronic sprains, or in patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. "A decade ago treatment options were limited; patients either lived with the pain or underwent an ankle fusion," he said. "But today, because of the medical advancements and new surgical techniques, Baby Boomers suffering from arthritis have additional, viable treatment options to keep them on their feet and enjoying their active lifestyle."

One treatment option that has seen some of the most advancement is the use of ankle implants. "While still changing, the quality and design of the implants have drastically improved over the years," Dr. Mendicino said. "Implants are now even more customized to the patient's size, gender and uniqueness of their arthritis; it's no longer a one-size-fits-all world. This is especially important for maintaining functionality and range of motion in the ankle."

Dr. Mendicino says the clear message for those suffering with debilitating arthritis is that there are new options available. "It is recommended that patients consult with a foot and ankle surgeon who can provide them with the best course of treatment for the individual case."

For additional information on ankle pain or other foot and ankle health conditions, visit ACFAS' consumer web site,

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of over 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College's mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its consumer Web site,

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