Fusion vs Replacement for Pain Relief from Ankle Arthritis

PainRelief.com: What are the main findings?

Response  We found that both treatments resulted in significant pain relief and both groups had significantly improved function. Both treatments allowed return to regular activities.  However the patients who had replacement had better measurable better pain relief than the fusion patients through the first three years and reported better function through all four years. The ankle replacement group also returned to activity more quickly after surgery than the fusion group. The same surgeons did both treatments. All surgeons were fully trained in ankle fusion and in hip, knee and ankle replacement.

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: When performed by a fully trained orthopedic surgeon, ankle replacement is an effective alternative treatment for ankle arthritis that relieves pain and allows continued motion of the ankle joint. Not everyone with ankle arthritis is a candidate for replacement. Consult your orthopedic surgeon to determine what treatment is best for you.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Like any other treatment, the medical community should continue to monitor patients’ successes and failures so that we can make improvements over time and so that we can determine how long the treatments effects last. Ideally the outcome of all replacements should be captured nationally so that we can also see how the treatments work away from busy Medical centers

Disclosures: This study was funded by the NIH National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases, NIAMS.  I have no FCOI


Sangeorzan BJ, Ledoux WR, Shofer JB, Davitt J, Anderson JG, Bohay D, Coetzee JC, Maskill J, Brage M, Norvell DC. Comparing 4-Year Changes in Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Ankle Arthroplasty and Arthrodesis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2021 May 19;103(10):869-878. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.20.01357. PMID: 33983146.

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