Can Arthritis Benefit from Surgery?

Arthritis can sometimes benefit from surgery, but the answer isn’t simple.

Whereas we do have surgical procedures for treating certain cases of arthritis in feet and ankles, there are also conservative treatment options that might work well. Really, this depends on an array of factors, but you may derive plenty of symptom relief and benefit from conservative treatment options like:

  • Medication. With arthritis being a condition of inflamed, painful joints, it only stands to reason that some patients find the relief they need from taking either prescription or over-the-counter medications. With regards to OTC medicine, we sometimes recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Exercise. Second only to medications as an effective, conservative treatment option, exercise provides an array of benefits, including improved range of joint motion, better flexibility, stronger muscles (to support joints), and weight management (which is particularly important for arthritic foot and ankle joints!).
  • Assistive devices. There are special devices for individuals afflicted with arthritis. These assistive devices can ease force loads and take pressure off lower limb joints afflicted with arthritis.

Those kinds of treatment options certainly work in some cases, but other patients require surgical intervention to find the relief they deserve.


Generally speaking, we tend to recommend surgery for conditions wherein a patient is experiencing disability or severe pain from his or her arthritis. Further, we may need to use surgical procedures to help patients who are not finding sufficient relief from conservative treatment.

When we do perform surgery, we may use any of the following techniques:

  • Arthroscopic debridement. Particularly beneficial in early stages of arthritis, this procedure can be used to remove inflamed tissue or bone spurs that have formed on an affected joint.
  • Arthrodesis. Essentially, this procedure is a matter of fusing two joints together. This is done by removing the ends of the bones forming a joint and then connecting them with screws or pins. In time, the bones will grow together to form a single, rigid unit.
  • Arthroplasty. This is a total ankle replacement wherein we remove damaged bone and cartilage. Then new metal or plastic joint surfaces are positioned to restore foot function.
  • Osteotomy. When arthritis is caused by a condition like a bunion, we may need to cut bone tissues to realign a joint.

Remember, the best way to determine what kind of arthritis treatment is right for you is to come see us at either our Cedar Park or Round Rock offices. We will assess your particular situation and then give you a professional recommendation. From there, we’ll create the treatment plan that works best for you.

Contact North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today to request your appointment by calling (512) 593-2949.

Posted on December 8, 2017 .