Ankle Arthritis

Ankle arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joint. There are three bones in the ankle which are affected, the tibia, the fibula and the talus.

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis can include:

  • Stiffness of the ankle
  • Swelling around the joint
  • Bone spurs
  • Deformity of the joint
  • Instability of the ankle

Ankle arthritis might arise from:

  • An injury leading to the development of Osteonecrosis, which can damage the blood flow to a portion of bone
  • Rheumatoid disease, which causes joint inflammation and damage to cartilage
  • Deterioration of cartilage due to age

The first step would be to arrange a consultation with a podiatric specialist, they may refer for an X-ray to assess the issue.

Treatments may include:

Physiotherapy and Strengthening

Your specialist may provide you with ankle strengthening exercises, alongside details on deep tissue massage. These exercises can help delay joint deterioration, reduce symptoms and improve strength, range of motion, balance and function to the ankle joint.

Orthotics & Braces

Following a gait analysis, custom orthotics may be suggested to help support your ankle, they can also redistribute the weight to ease pain to the affected region. A brace may help stabilise the joint and reduce pain.

Steroid injections

If pain persists in your ankle then your specialist may advise on a steroid injection.

Typically the choice of substance for a steroid injection will be Cortisone. The steroid can decrease inflammation as it acts like a hormone, which is made naturally in your body and stops inflammation. Typically a lower dose of steroid is administered to provide relief from pain and stiffness, but a higher dose can be administered if you have a severe flare up of arthritis.

We may also choose to inject Hyaluronic Acid or Platelet Rich Plasma to help healing.

Manipulation of the Joint Under Anaesthesia (MUA)

Manipulation of the joint is typically an outpatient procedure which can be performed under local anaesthesia. There are however some cases where your specialist may instead suggest IV sedation or general anesthesia in a hospital setting.

MUA may be suggested if you have had a previous injury, this will help realign the joint and improve motion. You may be provided with an Aircast boot to mobilise and allow the ankle to heal in the correctly aligned position.

Surgical Management

If symptoms persist then surgery may be suggested. Please click below to find out more on common surgical options.