Arthritis in the ankle makes walking excruciating, and treatments wear out quickly in active patients.
But one doctor believes that a new procedure can last.
David Reid, a Harley salesman, wanted other options besides the common procedures used to treat ankle arthritis. Fusing his ankle joint would limit his flexibility, and an ankle replacement could wear out quickly.
Dr. Fernando Pena, an orthopedic surgeon, tried a new procedure with Reid. After cutting out the defective surface of Reid's ankle joint, he transplanted bone and cartilage from a cadaver. Within six weeks, the transplant healed.
"It feels like a new ankle. I'm now taking the stairs again," Reid said. "It's made a huge difference in my life."
The procedure is only for active patients from their teens to their 40s who have arthritis on the bottom half of their ankle joint, Dr. Pena said. The technique works best on arthritis caused by a break, severe sprain or ligament damage that develops years after the injury.