New TOs examine treatment of ankle arthritis

By Kristy L. Weber, MD, and Michael J. Goldberg, MD

Ankle arthritis is a degenerative condition that can cause significant pain and functional limitation. In its early stages, a variety of nonsurgical options can be applied, but for end-stage ankle arthritis, fusion has been the traditional treatment. Recently, however, new implant designs for total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) have shown promising results.

Because evidence supporting the efficacy of both nonsurgical and surgical treatments is poor, the AAOS Guidelines Oversight chairs and members of the physician work group on ankle arthritis chose not to complete a clinical practice guideline (CPG) on this topic. Instead, they developed technology overviews (TOs) examining the literature and investigating key questions about the results of these treatments. In keeping with the definition of a TO, the documents do not make recommendations for or against the use of any specific treatment. TOs are considered evidence-based educational tools that encourage readers to consider the information presented and reach their own conclusions. They do not define the standard of care and are not meant to advise insurance company coverage decisions. Insurance companies perform their own systematic reviews of the literature.

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