A fusion (also called arthrodesis) is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed when conservative treatment measures do not relieve the pain associated with your condition. When the structure of your foot or the cartilage at your joint is damaged, it can lead to severe pain and dysfunction. A joint, also called an articulation, is comprised by the ends of two bones that are covered by a smooth, spongy surface called cartilage. The purpose of your joints is to withstand large compressive and loading forces while allowing fluid movement between the two bones. A fusion procedure consists of removing the cartilage from the joint and fixating the two ends of bone together, typically with plates and screws. This, in essence, fuses the two bones together to make “one” bone. The main benefit of this procedure is a very high success rate of alleviating arthritis and pain. Additionally, fusions are extremely durable and require fewer restrictions. With any surgery, there are potential risks and complications to weigh. Our priority is your health and to spend the time with you to educate you on all the pros and cons.
The most common reason that a fusion procedure is performed is due to arthritis.
Arthritis (inflammation to a joint) can affect any joint of the foot for ankle. This typically produces pain, swelling and warmth. It can eventually lead to destruction of the joint resulting in deformity, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and the inability to ambulate normally. There are numerous forms of arthritis. The most common type in the foot is called osteoarthritis. Other forms include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, and gout to name a few. Common reasons for development of osteoarthritis are trauma or underlying biomechanical abnormalities that precipitate increased strain on a joint.
If you are experiencing significant pain or dysfunction, it’s important to visit with our specialists to properly evaluate the severity of your condition. If left untreated, arthritis typically worsens with time. Diagnosis starts with obtaining X-rays to evaluate the bony architecture of your feet. Advanced imaging studies such as CT or MRI are sometimes recommended after a thorough clinical evaluation is performed. We understand that this is a difficult decision, and we are here to help. Come see our specialists today so we can help take that pain away!
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