Ankle arthritis is quite common, although not as common as arthritis of the knee. In
India ankle arthritis, is less often reported because of lack of awareness.
Causes of ankle arthritis:
Trauma: Ankle fractures and sprains treated inappropriately in the past is a more common
cause of arthritis than the knee and hip
Age related arthritis: In hip and knee, age related degeneration of cartilage is more common.
Features of ankle arthritis:
- Stiffness especially on waking in the morning
- Reduced movements in the ankle joint
- Pain on walking
- Swelling is common in ankle arthritis
Diagnosis of ankle arthritis:
- Your doctor will check for reduced movements in the ankle.
- Your doctor might order an x ray to find out the cause of pain and then the stage of arthritis.
- X rays will show how much of the cartilage has been lost.
Treatment of ankle arthritis:
Both surgical and non-surgical options are exercised for treatment of ankle arthritis.
Non-surgical treatment of ankle arthritis:
- A well-fitting ankle brace provides very good support and comfort for the arthritic ankle.
- A rocker bottom shoe will off-load weight on the foot and make walking easy.
- Also weight reduction, in the obese patient will reduce pain to a considerable extent.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines.
Surgical treatment of ankle arthritis:
- In cases where there are loose bodies ( which form in an arthritic joint from worn out cartilage), the ankle is washed out through a key-hole surgery, a procedure called ankle joint lavage or wash out.
- If pain is not controlled by the above, an anti-inflammatory injection can be tried, which gives good relief.
Relief from pain is variable from few weeks to 1-2 years depending on the condition of patient’s joint.
- Ankle joint arthrodesis or joint fusion is a good procedure that will take away pain completely.