Here at our Cincinnati-area podiatry offices, we see a lot of people with stiff, painful, even deformed joints in their feet. This includes conditions like bunions and hammertoes, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.
Although there are many different treatment options for most of these conditions—including several that do not involve surgery at all—one possible option that we provide is called total joint replacement. In this procedure, the ends of bones that make up a joint are replaced with an artificial prosthesis, made of metal, plastic, or other materials. The prosthetic joint may be cemented to the remaining bone, or may instead be “press fit” to allow the surrounding bone to naturally grow into and fit the artificial joint.
Total joint replacement is becoming more common as surgical methods improve, but is it the right choice for you? That depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the condition, your age, and whether or not other treatment methods have been successful in the past.
Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, joint replacement surgery tends to be more commonly recommended in older patients with more serious joint pain. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, artificial joints tend to have a lifespan of 10-15 years, so younger patients may have to have their joints replaced several times as they age. Second, cases where the pain or discomfort is more minor may be able to be addressed through conservative means (such as orthotics or physical therapy), or may be better suited for a surgical realignment procedure without a prosthesis (such as an osteotomy).
However, if pain, stiffness, or deformity are severe, or less invasive approaches haven’t worked, total joint replacement may indeed be the best option for you.
Dr. Caron E. Harner, a member of the team here at Family Foot & Ankle Center, is a specialist in total joint replacement procedures, and all our doctors are well qualified to diagnose and treat arthritic conditions of the feet and ankles. If pain and stiffness in the joints of your lower limbs are keeping you from doing the things you love, come in and see us for an evaluation. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 88-689-3317.