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When Arthritis Requires Surgery

Say “arthritis” and most people think of a retired football player with bum knees or an elderly woman rubbing her sore shoulder in an Advil commercial. Yet arthritis can affect just about any joint, of which you may be surprised to learn the foot has a total of 33. Of the hundreds of different types of arthritis, the three most likely to affect a foot or ankle joint, are:

The symptoms of all three are more or less the same: inflammation, swelling, and pain that eventually can cause a lack of mobility and difficulty walking.

At Central Massachusetts Podiatry we always seek to manage arthritis pain with nonsurgical methods, such as: medication (including steroids and painkillers), physical and occupational therapy, massage or orthopedic shoes. However, if these are ineffective, surgery will be recommended.

Any of three surgical approaches may be used. These are:

Surgery is extremely effective in relieving arthritic joint pain, although healing takes time, anywhere from 4-9 months for a complete recovery.  After surgery, you’ll likely have a cast to limit movement. Once the cast is removed, you may be advised to undergo physical therapy to regain strength in your foot or ankle and to restore range of motion.

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