Cartilage is an essential material in every healthy joint, including your ankles. It cushions your bones, but an injury can damage your cartilage and lead to chronic ankle pain. Jay Bhuta, DPM, and the podiatric team at Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey can help. They specialize in ankle cartilage surgery to repair damaged cartilage and relieve pain. Book a consultation online or call the office in Millburn, New Jersey, to learn more.
Cartilage is a strong, slippery connective tissue that covers the ends of every bone in your joints. It reduces friction, absorbs shock, and prevents your bones from grinding together when you move.
Unfortunately, cartilage can get damaged when you suffer a joint injury — and it can’t heal on its own. Ankle injuries like sprains and fractures can permanently damage your ankle cartilage.
Ankle cartilage surgery repairs the damaged cartilage and improves your joint function. This surgical procedure is also known simply as ankle cartilage repair.
You might need ankle cartilage surgery if you have suffered an ankle injury like a fracture or severe sprain. Sometimes, degenerative conditions like arthritis damage ankle cartilage over time.
Damaged ankle cartilage can cause symptoms like:
Dr. Bhuta and the team diagnose your condition with a comprehensive exam. They may use medical imaging to get a closer look at your ankle cartilage and assess the damage.
After your diagnosis, the team usually starts by recommending nonsurgical treatment. These options may include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. If you still have pain and other symptoms after trying conservative treatment, you could be a candidate for ankle cartilage surgery.
There are several techniques for ankle cartilage surgery, and the surgeons choose the best method for your situation. The most common type of ankle cartilage repair is microfracture surgery.
Microfracture is a minimally invasive procedure. Your surgeon uses specialized instruments and tiny incisions to remove damaged cartilage from your ankle joint. Then, they make several small holes in your bone where the cartilage is damaged.
The holes stimulate your body’s healing process. Blood and reparative cells travel to the holes, filling them up and forming a clot. The clot turns into scar tissue called fibrocartilage.
Recovery from ankle cartilage surgery takes several months. As your body heals, the fibrocartilage replaces the damaged cartilage. You should notice an improvement in ankle pain and other symptoms within a few months of surgery.
Damaged ankle cartilage doesn’t mean chronic pain is inevitable. Find out more about the benefits of ankle cartilage repair at Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey. Call or book a consultation online today.