What is Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle arthritis refers to wearing out the articular cartilage of ankle joint.  The most common form of ankle arthritis is osteoarthritis (breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to bone to bone contact). Ankle arthritis can produce ankle swelling and pain and in severe cases it can cause loss of function.

What are Some Causes of Ankle Arthritis?

  • Osteoarthritis ( wear and tear / degenerative joint disease / age related) (most common)
  • Rheumatological conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Traumatic (due to fracture that affected the joint)
  • Gouty arthropathy (Gout attack of the ankle joint)
  • Seronegative arthritis

What are the Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis?

  • Stiffness of the ankle joint
  • Tenderness or pain with palpation around the ankle joint
  • Stiffness of the ankle joint
  • swelling around the ankle joint
  • Reduced range of motion of the ankle joint
  • Pain with walking or bearing weight
  • Grinding of the joint (creptius)

How is Ankle Arthritis Diagnosed?

  • Usually simple X-rays will reveal the presence of joint arthritis
  • Bone scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT scan

Conservative Treatments for Ankle Arthritis Diagnosed?

  • Weight Control is very important
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling in the joint
  • Pain relievers to control the pain
  • Inserts / Orthotics that support the foot and ankle
  • Ankle brace to provide support and limit motion
  • Rocker bottom shoes
  • Physical therapy
  • Cane for gait stability and support
  • Corticosteroid injection into the joint

Surgical Treatments for Ankle Arthritis?

Surgical intervention may be required if conservative treatments have failed.  The following are some of the surgical options for ankle osteoarthritis:

Ankle Arthroscopy. is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves the introduction of a small circular lens into a joint for the purpose of inspection, and possible treatment of the joint. Arthroscopy offers many advantages over classical “open joint” (arthrotomy) techniques. First, arthroscopic surgery only requires small incisions in the ankle joint capsule, and minimizes scarring and trauma to the soft tissue. Second, the environment within the ankle joint is more easily and accurately inspected utilizing the magnification provided by the arthroscope. Third, the joint is continuously bathed in physiological fluids providing a healthier environment during surgery.

Ankle Fusion surgery. This kind of surgery, also called ankle arthrodesis, involves fusing bones together (tibia and talus) with the use of pins, screws, plates or rods. After healing, the bones remain fused together (no more motion to ankle joint)

Joint replacement surgery. This kind of surgery involves replacing the ankle joint (ankle implant) with artificial implants and is used only in rare cases due to its high failure rate.

Dr. Hormozi has great expertise in ankle arthritis surgery. Dr. Hormozi has an excellent surgical success rate treating ankle arthritis.