Baby boomers 'more likely to seek foot and ankle surgery'

The so-called 'baby boomer' generation who were born in the aftermath of the second world war are more likely to consider foot and ankle surgery to treat arthritis than previous generations, experts have claimed.

According to surgeons, baby boomers are reluctant to let their bodies slow them down and are prepared to seek private care for arthritis in their toes, feet and ankles.

Mr John Giurini, a foot and ankle surgeon in Boston and president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), said that members of the generation "do not accept foot pain as a natural part of ageing".

"When conservative treatments fail, they want to know what other options exist."

Ankles are particularly prone to post-traumatic arthritis, which can often develop as a result of a fracture or sprain that occurred in early adulthood.

The first prosthetic ankle implants were developed in the 1970s but ankle replacement has only recently started to become a viable option for the treatment of ankle arthritis.

According to Mr Brad Wenstrup, a foot and ankle surgeon in Cincinnati, ankle surgery is more challenging than knee or hip replacement surgery, but better ankle implants are beginning to reach the market.

Mr Wenstrup said: "Surgery to repair arthritic feet and ankles won't make you 16 years old again. But boomers can look forward to more options than ever to relieve pain and restore motion."

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