The human ankle is a marvel of engineering. It’s composed of three joints and three main bones, not only supporting us, but allowing us to swivel and pivot. If you’ve ever played or watched hockey or basketball, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This structure endures tremendous shock and pressure when we walk—not to mention when we run, jump, skate or wear five-inch stilettos on concrete.
And, because of its weight-bearing nature and complex structure, the ankle is prone to injury. If the foot is not in proper alignment during the landing phase, the resulting twist may result in a strain or fracture. Word to the wise: this is why it is so important to wear shoes which stabilize your heel.
In the past, this sort of injury typically has been debilitating, requiring a fusion or extensive joint replacement for correction. But now, I have developed a new procedure which puts patients back in their feet with only a minimal incision and little-to-no downtime.
This new procedure is an option for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis of the ankle, osteoarthritis, a severe ankle sprain, or a fracture—the latter can happen to anyone, at any age. The procedure involves arthroscopic surgery to remove the old cartilage, followed by an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to build new cartilage in place of the old. The ankle quickly becomes strong and flexible again. Patients are especially happy with the fact that they are immediately ambulatory soon after the surgery, instead of being limited in mobility for many uncomfortable weeks.