Achievement of Optimal Health: A wholistic approach

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years

Disclaimer:

This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.
 

Image Credit: Clarity Clinic

The medical system is designed to keep us healthy and well. It is always a great idea to keep up with your doctors appointments, and get regular check ups. While they may not be the most comfortable thing that we have to do in our lives, they provide us with an ideal feedback loop that lets us know if everything is okay. 

The road to health is becoming clearer and clearer every year. With access to information, we all have the ability to identify the practices that will enable us to achieve optimal health. Millions of dedicated healthcare professionals are here to ensure that you are living your best life, in this current time. Their ability to keep people healthy, often to the sacrifice of their own personal time, is something that we all need to admire. 

A paradigm shift is going to be necessary, in order to ensure that everyone gets the best that they can from the system. It is time for fresh ideas that will make health care less daunting, and more of a community based activity. The healthcare system operates within a framework that can often limit what we think is possible. 

A recent 2022 article on achieving optimal health by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, has identified that there are eight tenets to better health[1]. These are: 

  1. The suffering we endure to achieve longevity is unacceptable and unnecessary.
  2. Mental, social, and spiritual health are as important as physical health and are deeply interconnected.
  3. Health is mostly about our ability to function, not just about disease and death.
  4. Health exists on a spectrum: we can’t achieve optimal health if we don’t define, measure, or strive for it.
  5. Most drivers of health sit outside conventional healthcare systems and are modifiable.
  6. Achieving great health is as much about what we pursue as what we avoid.
  7. People are more than patients; they deserve to be empowered with greater health literacy.
  8. History suggests that the societal adaptations required to improve health are feasible; every person and institution on Earth has a role to play.

These tenets are leading us to the solution of our problems. As a general observation, children who are born today have a life expectancy that will be 20 years longer than their grandparents. This is so, provided that they live a lifestyle that will enable them to preserve their health. 

One major factor that impacts longevity is stress. Biologic evidence has proven that there are physical impactors that can cause us to age, and even degenerate when our bodies are under excessive stresses for a prolonged period of time. Our current achievement minded work structure is one of those contributing factors. By minimizing stress, taking better care of our health,  fulfilling purpose, and surrounding ourselves with loved ones we are able to live a more optimal life. 

What are the additional impacts of longer life? 

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and with a longer life are higher associated costs. In the orthopaedic realm, those who live longer may have higher odds of needing replacement parts for joints such as the hips, knees or the ankle. Longer life is not directly correlated to great health throughout all of that extension. Statistics have shown that half of the life of those who live what is perceived as a long life, are actually spent in states of moderate to poor health. Additional critical statistic to know include: 

*2 billion people experience chronic pain 

*19 million people in the US find it difficult to walk a mile 

What can we do? 

Information provides us with the power to make the necessary changes. People have a right to live longer if they are able to take care of themselves through their lifespan. In the orthopaedic realm, the key parameters that will matter the most will be the ones that that patient mobility will be accessible when patients need it. Conditions such as osteoarthritis are age related and with the appropriate methods such as orthobiologics, the onset can be reversed. Under adverse conditions, 3-D printing and other reconstructive surgeries can be utilized as a restorative mechanism. Empowering ourselves with an understanding of how to handle health at each phase of life, is the key to longer, healthier living. Let your doctor be a key partner in helping you achieve this goal. 

Reference:

McKinsey and Company: https://www.mckinsey.com/mhi/our-insights/the-secret-to-great-health-escaping-the-healthcare-matrix

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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