Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes and Treatments

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: Woman’s Day 

“Three things in life – your health, your mission, and the people you love. That’s it. “- Naval Ravikant

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

Arthritis is one of the most common orthopaedic conditions that adults experience. As an overarching category arthritis occurs when the joints of the body degenerate. The root cause of joint degeneration can be influenced by several factors. One classification of joint degeneration is known as Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA. RA is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, and it involves the immune system attacking the wrong cells. Under normal conditions, the body’s immune system is designed to attack any invaders such as viruses, bacteria or any foreign object that enters the body. With RA, the body’s own healthy cells are attacked by the immune system, and inflammation occurs as a secondary outcome to the attack. 

Patients often find the joints swollen and painful and several joints in the body are attacked at once. The primary pain points are the hands, wrists and knees. 

Mechanism of Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Once the internal attack of rheumatoid arthritis occurs, there is inflammation of the joint lining. The next phase after tissue damage is joint tissue degeneration. When the inflammation subsides, the joint stability is impacted and the joint becomes misshapen. As RA propagates through the body, it will traverse to other tissues and organs throughout the body. The lungs, heart and eyes are the most commonly affected organs for patients with RA. 

While symptoms vary from patient to patient, the most commonly experienced symptoms include [1]: 

*Pain or aching in more than one joint

*Stiffness in more than one joint

*Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint

*The same symptoms on both sides of the body (such as in both hands or both knees)

*Weight loss

*Fever

*Fatigue or tiredness

*Weakness

Risk Factors that Influence RA 

While various factors are at play in the development of RA, there are a few patient classifications that show a higher propensity to the condition. These include: 

Age: The older the patient, the higher the likelihood of developing RA. Adults sixty and older are the most at risk.

Gender: Women have a higher risk of developing RA than men do. The ratio can be as high as 2:1. Women who have not given birth are also at higher risk of developing RA.

Genetic Traits: There are various conditions in the body that are tied to genetic inheritance. For this reason, doctors always ask for family history as they are examining the patient. RA patients with the  HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genotypes have been found to have a higher propensity to develop RA. 

Lifestyle: Lifestyle is a root cause of accelerating the propagation of RA. Patients who are overweight, and who smoke increase their chances of developing RA or accelerating the condition if it already exists in the body. Even being around second hand smoke can influence the onset of RA. By making the right lifestyle changes, you can minimise the frequency of RA attacks. 

 A consultation with your orthopaedic surgeon will enable your RA case to be properly assessed, and a suitable treatment plan to be established. Your orthopaedic surgeon will do a physical examination as well as look at your X-rays and lab results. Effective treatments are then prescribed. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a medical condition that is best treated in the early phases of detection. Doctors will prescribe medications such as  disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in order to slow down the autoimmune response. There are also physical self-management strategies that patients can utilize in order to improve the strength of their joints. For more severe cases, surgical intervention is often the course of action. 

There is always hope for treatment, and patients who eat right, manage their body weight and remain physically active are better able to manage their condition. Aim to exercise for 150 minutes per week and you will be able to manage your weight, and bring balance to your joints. 

Reference: Rheumatoid Arthritis: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html

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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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