What is ankle arthritis?

The term “arthritis” means inflamed joint and can occur in any joint in the body. There are over 100 forms of arthritis, many of which can affect the ankle. The ankle has three bones that make up the ankle joint: the lower end of the tibia (shin bone), the fibula (smaller bone in the lower leg), and the weight-bearing bone called the talus which fits into the socket formed by the fibula and tibia. Ankle arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the foot and ankle and can be debilitating. Currently, there is not a cure for arthritis, however there are many treatment options our experts at BICMD can recommend to help slow the progress of ankle arthritis and relieve painful symptoms. Through our orthopedic telemedicine on demand platform, you can obtain the best diagnosis, second opinion and individualized treatment options for your ankle arthritis.

What are the most common forms of ankle arthritis?

Arthritis comes in many forms and can attack individual joints differently. Ankle arthritis is less common than arthritis in other major joints like the shoulder, hip and knee. When arthritis in the ankle does occur, there are three main forms of ankle arthritis:

  • Post-Traumatic arthritis – The most common form of ankle arthritis, occurs after a trauma that causes the cartilage to wear away. Post-traumatic can occur years after an injury or ankle dislocation. Studies show an injured ankle is seven-times more likely to become arthritic than an uninjured joint.
  • Osteoarthritis –Also known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis and is commonly found in older patients. Ankle osteoarthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage between the bones of the ankle wears away and allows bone to rub on bone.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – An auto-immune disease that attacks multiple joints in the body at the same time.

What are the symptoms of ankle arthritis?

Patients who experience ankle arthritis often report similar symptoms:

  • Pain and stiffness in the ankle
  • Pain that gets worse with use or motion
  • Tenderness when pressure is applied
  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling in the morning or after resting
  • Joint swelling
  • Warmth or redness around the joint
  • Decreased range of motion

How is ankle arthritis diagnosed?

The orthopedic ankle experts at BICMD can diagnose your ankle condition through a state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They will obtain a thorough medical history which includes symptoms and previous care. X-rays may help determine the severity of ankle arthritis and a CT scan or MRI will help them determine how much cartilage has been damaged. They have extensive experience in diagnosing and treatment ankle arthritis and will give you the best advice for the joint affected by arthritis.

What is the treatment for arthritis in the ankle?

Non-Surgical treatment:

The type and severity of your ankle arthritis will help us determine the best treatment plan. Conservative measures may include:

  • NSAIDS – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Weight loss
  • Ankle brace or other assistive device
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Hyaluronic injections
  • Lifestyle modification – minimizing activities that aggravate the condition
  • Physical therapy

Surgical Treatment:

Surgery for ankle arthritis should be considered when conservative treatments fail to relieve pain and restore mobility. Surgical treatments may include:

  • Ankle arthroscopy
  • Arthroscopic debridement
  • Ankle replacement (arthroplasty)
  • Ankle arthrodesis (fusion)

For more information about ankle arthritis, or post-traumatic ankle arthritis, or to receive an expert consultation for your foot pain, please contact our experts, by clicking on “Connect With a Doctor.” You will be connected to one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.