Distraction of joints is very common in the management of an arthritic ankle by European surgeons. The European orthopedic literature provides surgical results that prove this procedure increases the range of motion and decreases pain while ambulating.
The arthrodiastasis procedure is indicated for an alternative to fusion or joint replacement in the younger population.
The distraction creates a larger space or distance between the distal tibia and the talus. A circular ring fixator is applied to the distal portion of the leg and foot for 6-8 weeks, followed by a period of physical therapy. During the distraction period, the patient is full weight bearing as tolerated.
This procedure can be performed with good results for patients who have a stiff ankle with or without previous joint replacement.