Distraction arthroplasty of the ankle–how far can you stretch the indications?
Ankle joint distraction has been shown to be a viable alternative to ankle arthrodesis or ankle replacement. The à la carte approach to ankle jointpreservation (resection of blocking osteophytes, release of muscle/joint contractures, and realignment osseous ankle procedures) presented in this article as important for a successful outcome as is the hinged ankle joint distraction technique itself. The authors reviewed 32 patients who underwent this ankle joint distraction technique and found 78% of patients had maintained their ankle range of motion and have no pain to occasional moderate pain that can be managed generally with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs alone. Only one has required an ankle fusion, and only one has been converted to an ankle joint replacement. The longevity of these results and the higher percent of good or excellent results when compared with other studies suggest that combining adjunctive procedures and articulation with ankle distraction improves the results of this procedure.