Avascular necrosis (AVN) involving the bones of the foot and ankle is an uncommon condition that can lead to significant disability and loss of function. AVN occurs due to the loss of blood supply to an area of bone, which can lead to destruction of the involved bone and surrounding joint cartilage.
The loss of blood supply is usually temporary and can be somewhat restored through the body’s natural processes to partially revitalized the involved. However, in severe cases, this loss of blood supply can lead to the collapse of the bone surface itself leading to severe arthritis to the foot and ankle.
vascular necrosis of bones is most commonly due to a traumatic injury, which can break the bone and disrupt the blood supply. AVN can also happen from excessive alcohol consumption, sickle cell anemia, radiation treatments, or taking corticosteroids (prednisone) for chronic diseases.
Dr. McAlister is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon who is trained to diagnose AVN. After a thorough history and physical examination, Dr. McAlister may use additional imaging such as MRI, which is the gold standard of detecting the portion of the bone that is affected and the severity of the problem.
Early detection and treatment of avascular necrosis is vital to prevent long-term problems. If the weight-bearing bones of your foot or ankle are affected, Dr. McAlister will discuss conservative or surgical treatment options to prevent additional bone and joint damage. Depending on the severity of your injury, Dr. McAlister may suggest removing some of the dead bone and packing in healthy bone to help with the body’s repair process. In severe cases, you may need a joint replacement or fusion to allow pain free range of motion.
At our Ankle Arthritis Center, we offer many options to help patients get pain free with active avascular necrosis and our ongoing efforts to keep patients active! We offer custom talus and ankle replacements that are a new way to treat AVN of the ankle. Patients are doing well and back to walking pain free!
Please call our office for a consultation at 602-761-7819 today!