Ankle Distraction for Treatment of Ankle Arthritis

Ankle distraction with external fixation has been proven to preserve an arthritic ankle joint. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joint deteriorates. The cartilage in the ankle joint acts as a cushion. Without this cushion, parts of the joint grind together, which causes pain and limits motion. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluations of the ankle before and after treatment show the regrowth of cartilage and the increased joint space. The arrows on the images point to the joint space before the procedure and the increased joint space after the procedure. The patient is allowed to move the ankle, to shower, and to put weight on the ankle during treatment with the external fixator.