Ankle Arthritis

What is Ankle Arthritis?

In addition to the symptoms listed above, people who have arthritis also experience joint stiffness, oedema, and pain in their joints. In comparison to other types of arthritis, ankle arthritis is not as well-known as its counterparts. Even though arthritis in the ankle is more uncommon than arthritis in other joints, it still has the potential to limit your mobility and lower the quality of your life. Arthritis in the ankle can make it difficult for a person to do their typical day-to-day activities.

Ankle arthritis symptoms might include discomfort, oedema, swelling, deformity, and even instability. The tibiotalar joint, which is where the ankle bone (talus)  and shin bone (tibia) connect, is where ankle arthritis manifests (talus).

Ankle arthritis is a condition that can develop if the cartilage that lines the joint begins to degrade. Potential factors include inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and traumatic experiences like being in a car accident. Damage to the cartilage of the ankle that was caused by trauma is the most common cause of arthritis in the ankle.

If you believe that you have arthritis in your ankles or have been diagnosed with the condition, the specialists at the University of Michigan South Main Orthopedics can provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis as well as individualised treatment options. In order to treat arthritis in the ankle well, we need to see a lot of people who have problems with both their feet and their ankles.

 

Ankle Arthritis

Types of Ankle Arthritis

Because there are numerous types of arthritis, it is essential to determine which one is causing your ankle pain in order to receive the appropriate treatment. These are some of the most prevalent kinds of ankle arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

The cartilage that cushions the ends of joints gradually breaks away as a result of the degenerative joint condition known as osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is a joint condition that typically develops as people age. On the other hand, one of the most typical causes of ankle osteoarthritis is an accident. Over time, the cartilage becomes less helpful due to the deterioration of the cartilage itself or the ankle joint.

Arthritis Due to a Negative Experience

Even if the damage occurred years ago, it might still result in this type of foot arthritis. Ankle sprains, fractures, and dislocations can result in cartilage damage. If this occurs, the joint may age faster than usual. Joint degeneration symptoms may not show up for years or even decades after the event that caused the problem.

 Rheumatoid arthritis

The immune system of a person with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) attacks itself. This results in a persistent inflammatory condition. Ankle joints may be affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Difficulty ascending and descending ramps, stairs, and inclines is one of the earliest indications of RA in the ankle. If the RA in the ankle worsens, it may be quite painful to stand or walk.

Inflammatory arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, can also damage the ankle joint.

Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Typically, the big toe is the first to become painful and swollen. Gout can also occur in other joints besides the big toe, such as the ankles. When a person has had gout for a long time, uric acid crystals may build up underneath the skin near the ankles.

Joint pain and inflammation 

This type of persistent arthritis typically manifests after a stomach, vaginal, or urinary tract infection has resolved. Joints in the foot, knee, and ankle are often the first to show signs of reactive arthritis.

 

Causes of Ankle Arthritis

Injury-induced ankle arthritis

A damaged joint is seven times more likely to develop arthritis than a healthy one. Particularly susceptible to sprains, fractures, and other ailments is the ankle. In fact, between 70 and 80 per cent of ankle arthritis cases are the result of an earlier injury.

Post-traumatic arthritis refers to arthritis that develops following an injury. Even if the ankle’s primary injuries heal and function returns, the trauma may have induced joint abnormalities that result in osteoarthritis symptoms in the ankle.

Arthritic Ankle Caused by Underlying Health Condition

Only 12% of all occurrences of ankle arthritis are caused by another health condition. The occurrence of ankle osteoarthritis is increased if any of the following occur:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other reactive arthritis types (these systemic arthritic diseases can cause osteoarthritic damage over time)
  • Some congenital disorders, such as haemophilia, which makes it difficult for the blood to clot, and hemochromatosis, which causes the body to absorb an excessive amount of iron, can lead to clubfoot and improper alignment of the ankle joints.
  • When there is insufficient blood flow to the ankle joint, osteochondrosis dissecans and avascular talus necrosis can harm the bones and cartilage in that region.

 

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

Here are some of the most typical symptoms of ankle arthritis.

  • a significant amount of pain or sensitivity
  • decreased mobility or walking abilities
  • Stiffness
  • Joints with pain and inflammation

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you may have ankle arthritis, he or she will first review your medical history. When you visit the doctor, he or she may enquire about the onset and location of your pain, as well as its impact on your everyday life. They will examine your ankle for arthritic symptoms, such as swollen or aching joints.

A joint fluid test can check for uric acid crystals if gout is suspected as the cause of ankle discomfort, or a blood test can check for inflammation and antibodies to rule out inflammatory arthritis. Radiology tests, such as X-rays, can help doctors confirm a diagnosis and gauge the extent of joint damage.

 

Treatment

When determining the cause of ankle arthritis, the following factors are likely to be considered:

  • A brief medical history is when the physician asks you questions regarding your discomfort, such as where it aches and for how long.
  • A doctor does a gait study when they observe and count your steps while you walk.
  • X-rays

Ankle arthritis treatment may involve more than one surgical surgery. Your doctor will determine the best surgery for you based on the kind and severity of your arthritis. The following surgical procedures may be performed to treat ankle arthritis:

In the early stages of arthritis, arthroscopy, which is another ankle arthritis treatment, can be helpful. During arthroscopic surgery, a pencil-sized instrument known as an arthroscope is inserted into a joint. The image is shown on a screen that a surgeon can view. The surgeon can then clean the area around the joint using small forceps, knives, and shavers. Using arthroscopy, joint spurs and other bony growths can be removed.

At Saqsham, we care for your well-being and strive to bring you the best orthopaedic care and solutions. If you are experiencing any foot and ankle issues and would like to get a medical opinion,
we’d suggest you book an appointment.