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Ankle Arthritis

If you suffer from ankle arthritis, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle arthritis results from inflammation and degeneration of the ankle joint, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. It typically develops due to gradual wear and tear, often affecting individuals with prior ankle injuries or fractures. The deterioration of cartilage between bones within the joint leads to bone-on-bone contact, resulting in pain and swelling.

Symptoms of ankle arthritis include pain during activities that bear weight, joint stiffness, ankle swelling, and difficulty moving the ankle joint, especially during dorsiflexion and plantar flexion. As the condition advances, individuals may experience worsening pain and decreased ability to engage in daily activities and exercise.

Treatment options for ankle arthritis include conservative approaches such as rest, ice, medication, and physical therapy. More advanced treatments may involve corticosteroid injections or surgical procedures like ankle fusion or replacement. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in managing symptoms and preserving mobility in the affected ankle joint.

What Are The Different Types of Ankle Arthritis?

The different types include:

  1. Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of ankle arthritis and typically occurs as a result of age-related wear and tear on the joint. It can also be caused by a previous injury or repetitive stress on the ankle joint.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joint tissues, including the ankle. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation, pain, and joint damage.
  3. Post-traumatic arthritis: Moreover, this type of arthritis develops after a significant ankle injury, such as a fracture or severe sprain. The injury can damage the joint surfaces and lead to the development of arthritis over time.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle arthritis presents with several characteristic symptoms. Pain in the ankle joint is prominent, particularly during movement or weight-bearing activities like walking. Individuals often experience stiffness and a limited range of motion in the ankle, hindering the ability to flex or extend the foot comfortably. Swelling and tenderness around the joint are common, sometimes accompanied by warmth. These symptoms can significantly impair daily activities such as climbing stairs or standing for extended periods. In advanced stages, ankle arthritis may lead to joint deformity or instability, where the ankle feels loose or unstable during movement. Early medical intervention is crucial to effectively manage symptoms and prevent further deterioration of the joint. Treatment options vary and include conservative measures such as rest, medications, and physical therapy, as well as more aggressive approaches like injections or surgical procedures, depending on the severity and progression of the arthritis.

Treatment for Ankle Arthritis

Moreover, treatment for ankle arthritis aims to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve joint function. It can include a combination of non-surgical and surgical options, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s symptoms. Non-surgical treatments may include:

  • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Specific exercises can help improve strength, flexibility, and joint stability.
  • Assistive devices: Using a brace, orthotic inserts, or a cane can provide support and reduce stress on the ankle joint.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Weight management, low-impact exercises, and avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms can be beneficial.

If non-surgical treatments do not provide sufficient relief, surgical options such as ankle arthroscopy, joint fusion (arthrodesis), or joint replacement (arthroplasty) may be considered. These procedures aim to reduce pain and improve joint function.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and to discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for ankle arthritis. They can provide guidance on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Telemedicine appointments are also available.