Osteoarthritis (also known as arthritis) of the ankle is a condition which results in damage and loss of the cartilage which lines the bones of the tibia and talus. The smooth characteristics of the cartilage is loss which will subsequently lead to inflamation and deformity.
SYMPTOMS OF ANKLE ARTHRITIS
The main symptoms of ankle arthritis are pain, stiffness, swelling and deformity. The severity of the pain will depend on the severity of the arthritis. It may occur with excessive amounts of activities in the early stages and with every step taken when it is severe.
CAUSES OF ANKLE ARTHRITIS
The main cause of ankle arthritis is previous trauma to the ankle joint such as ankle fractures and repeated ankle sprains. The ankle is a small joint compared to the hip and knee. It receives a tremendous amount of weight with each step especially during running.
Varying deformities in the knee and hip will also cause malalignment of the leg. This will also accelerate ankle arthritis.
DIAGNOSIS OF ANKLE ARTHRITIS
The diagnosis of ankle arthritis is clinicaly made by your Foot and Ankle Surgeon and is aided by investigations like plain Xrays, CT scans. and sometimes MRI.
TREATMENT OF ANKLE ARTHRITIS
1. Non Surgical Treatment
Non surgical treatment of ankle arthritis involves anti inflammatory pain relief, shoewear modification, physiotherapy and injections of viscosupplements. I personally do not inject corticosteroids into the joint.
2. Surgical Treatments
Surgical treatments of ankle arthritis can include keyhole surgery (arthroscopy of the ankle joint), realignment surgery, fusion surgery and Total Ankle Replacements (TAR).