By the way, doctor: Is ankle fusion my only option?

Q. I have injury-related osteoarthritis in my right ankle. My orthopedic surgeon said, in essence, that it's ankle fusion or nothing for me — and that there are no means of surgically restoring cartilage. What do you think?

A. Researchers are investigating techniques that might (note the hesitation) allow us someday to treat arthritic ankles and other joints by regenerating cartilage, but nothing is close to mainstream medical practice. So I agree with your surgeon that cartilage repair isn't an option.

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