Background: End-stage ankle arthrosis is one of the leading causes of chronic disability in North America. Information on this condition is limited. The amount of pain and the reduction in health-related quality of life and function have not been quantified with use of universal outcome measures. The purpose of the present study was to compare the extent of pain, loss of function, and health-related quality of life in two cohorts of patients waiting for the surgical treatment of end-stage ankle or hip arthrosis.
Methods: One hundred and thirty patients with end-stage ankle arthrosis who were awaiting total ankle arthroplasty or ankle arthrodesis were recruited through a Canadian Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society multicenter study. All patients prospectively completed the Short Form-36 (SF-36) generic outcome instrument. This cohort was compared with a similar cohort of 130 patients with end-stage hip arthrosis, randomly selected from an existing prospective joint replacement database, who had completed an SF-36 questionnaire prospectively from 2000 to 2005.
Results: In both groups, the scores for all SF-36 subscales were approximately two standard deviations below normal population scores. Patients with ankle arthrosis had significantly worse mental component summary scores (p < 0.05), role-physical scores (p < 0.05), and general health scores (p < 0.05). Patients with hip arthrosis reported significantly lower physical function scores (p < 0.05), although the SF-36 physical component summary score was not significantly different between the two groups. The SF-36 physical component summary, bodily pain, vitality, role-emotional, social functioning, and mental health subscale scores were equally affected in both cohorts.
Conclusions: The mental and physical disability associated with end-stage ankle arthrosis is at least as severe as that associated with end-stage hip arthrosis.