About the disease
Ankle arthritis is a chronic disease that affects the joints in the ankle. Overall, ankle arthritis is a joint degeneration, whereby the ankle cartilage becomes damaged. The cartilage no longer provides adequate cushioning and support in the joint, causing the bones to rub together. Arthritis often develops in the ankle because its cartilage is anatomically thin and more susceptible to degenerative processes than other joints. Ankle arthritis most commonly develops in older people and professional athletes but it can also develop as a result of a trauma or accident. Ankle arthritis accounts for 10% of all cases of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis develop in the knees and hips. If not treated in time, arthritis can spread to the ankle.
This disease usually develops gradually. At first, pain is felt in the ankle only during running or jogging. Later on, it can become more consistent and cause stiffness in the joints.
- Pain in the ankle
- Pain in the lower shin and foot
- Bone friction
- Inability to walk for long periods of time
- Sometimes there are crunching sounds in the ankle
- During a physical examination, the doctor will be able to determine whether there is any swelling or stiffness in the joints. The patient will be asked to walk up and down to see if arthritis has affected their gait.
- Taking an X-ray is very helpful in diagnosing arthritis, as it can show where cartilage has become too thin or if joints do not meet together properly.
- A blood test can show signs of inflammation.
- Anti Inflammatory drugs are often enough to reduce the pain and inflammation, but surgery may be necessary to rid the patient from the symptoms of arthritis.
- Ankle arthroscopy is a type of surgery that repairs the cartilage and corrects the position of any joints that have been displaced due to arthritis.
- Ankle replacement surgery is recommended in progressed stages of arthritis if the cartilage has been damaged to the point where it needs to be removed and replaced.
- Ankle debridement is another effective type of surgery, which allows the surgeon to remove inflamed tissue in the ankle. It also smoothes out the cartilage. If there are any bone spurs, they are also removed.