What is the alternative to surgery? When a patient comes to me with an arthritic joint, that is the million dollar question. Arthritis is the end product of bone-on-bone rubbing at a joint where cartilage is no longer present. Most doctors say conservative treatment such as cortisone injections and anti-inflammatories only treat the symptoms of arthritis and there is nothing that can be done for an arthritic joint besides surgery to alleviate pain. So you try all the traditional conservative treatment options…prescription strength anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, maybe you’ve even tried the visco-supplement injections without any improvement in pain. Most of the time your doctor will say the next step is surgery and most likely it will be either a joint replacement or fusion of the joint if the arthritis is that bad. Arthritic joints in the foot or ankle don’t have a lot of options…fusion of the joint or replacement of the joint. Neither sounds glamorous and can lead to changes in the way that you walk. Plus the recovery usually takes 6-8 weeks for fusion or replacement…minimum. So is there an alternative? With traditional medicine…no. But if you’re willing to look beyond the traditional medicine and step into the world of alternative medicine, you might have hope for an alternative to surgery. Prolotherapy is a great alternative to surgery. Prolotherapy is a series of injections that stimulate a healing cascade to occur to an area that is injured or chronically painful. The injection stimulates your body’s natural healing capabilities without the use of cortisone, which can weaken tissue if injected into the same area multiple times. Prolotherapy stimulates strengthening of the tissue such as the ligaments and capsule surrounding an arthritic joint. If the tissue around the area is stronger and more durable, then it allows for a decrease in stress to the joint which helps reduce pain associated with arthritis. So if you’re suffering from arthritis in your foot and/or ankle and you fear surgery is the only option, then call Advanced Podiatry at 813-875-0555 for an appointment. Discuss your concerns with our doctors, and they will provide treatment options other than surgery for your foot and ankle pain.