Being a foot and ankle surgeon I have been treating patients with arthritis since my career began. Early on you learn as a provider how debilitating arthritis can be. Often times, in the foot and ankle, end stage arthritis requires surgery. The approach to surgically treating the arthritic foot and ankle is through joint sparing or joint destructive procedures. In basic terms, joint replacement versus fusion.
In my practice, I always try and replace the joint affected when appropriate. Specifically, the ankle joint is now a prime candidate for replacement. Given the increase in technology and improved designs of the ankle implants, outcomes have drastically increased throughout the last decade. With joint replacement of the ankle, we are able to restore near normal joint kinematics and gait patterns. This in turn, reduces further risk for arthritis elsewhere in the foot or ankle.
My primary job as a foot and ankle surgeon is to reduce pain, and restore as much function as possible. With a multitude of conservative and surgical options available, a comprehensive evaluation and treatment program is the most effective means of achieving these goals. Both conservative and even surgical options could be needed to get you back to baseline activities.
I hope you and all your loved ones continue to stay safe and healthy.