Ankle joint distraction, or arthrodiastasis, has emerged as a viable treatment alternative for recalcitrant ankle arthritis. This joint salvage procedure avoids the potential complications associated with joint arthrodesis or joint arthroplasty in the young patient population typically affected by posttraumatic ankle arthritis. The treatment is predicated on the knowledge that osteoarthritic ankle cartilage is capable of repair. The reparative capacity of the ankle chondrocyte is enhanced through the mechanical offloading of the joint and maintenance of intra-articular fluid pressure changes. Scientific data demonstrate positive biochemical and biomechanical intra-articular changes associated with joint distraction, facilitating an environment for cartilage repair. Clinical studies, although limited, have resulted in significant patient benefit in the short-term and long-term treatment of arthritis. Further studies are needed to evaluate this technique and its ideal indication. Current literature does support its use in the treatment of ankle arthritis, however.
- Joint distraction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine