Ankle Arthritis Overview

Ankle Arthritis Overview

Arthritis is most often seen in the ankles and feet. Most people over 60 suffer from ankle arthritis but do not experience any signs. Ankles and feet that are afflicted with arthritis may hinder you from maintaining an active and healthy life in the absence of treatment. In addition, it can cause other serious diseases due to changes in your physical activity. The effects of arthritis in the ankle on your life may be much more severe than you think. This article will provide you with the information you require to take care of your ankle arthritis, including causes and signs.

Ankle Arthritis Explained

Ankle arthritis is a degenerative inflammatory disorder where the cartilage articular, essential for normal shock absorption and joint mechanics, thins out and starts to degrade. Then, abnormal bone expansions (bone spurs) may form within the joint. The healthy ankle joint cartilage is around 1 to 1.7 millimeters thick. It is strong and dense. After the cartilage's membrane breaks down, an inflammation of tissue, also known as synovitis, develops.

What Causes Arthritic Ankles?

Knowing the cause behind your pain from arthritis in the ankle could assist your doctor in suggesting the most effective treatment plan. The majority of cases result from five significant causes as well as risk factors.

1. Family History

The risk of developing ankle arthritis is elevated due to an inheritance predisposition.

2. Advanced Age

The risk of developing arthritis at the ankle joints increases as you age. The cartilage in the ankles shrinks as time passes.

3. Joint Stress

If your daily activities strain your ankles, such as extreme sports or strenuous exercises, you're more likely to suffer from pain in your feet and ankles.

4. Underlying Medical Conditions

Research has revealed that an underlying medical issue causes 10 to 15 percent of cases reported of ankle arthritis. These include blood disorders, congenital structural problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions that lead to poor circulation.

5. Joint Trauma

The ankle is prone to injuries like sprains, fractures, and accidents. If the joint has sustained trauma, the joint is more vulnerable to developing arthritis of the ankle, or "post-traumatic ankle arthritis." The damage caused by the injury can heal over time. However, the trauma could result in severe joint problems over the long term.

Types of Arthritis That Affect the Ankle

Arthritis is a broad word used to describe joint inflammation. For example, it is possible to have osteoarthritis of your ankle or Rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle.

While both forms of arthritis trigger inflammation pain, each has its sources and ways of progression. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune condition, while ankle osteoarthritis results from wear and tear on the joint.

Ankle Arthritis Symptoms

The signs of arthritis in the foot and ankle may differ depending on the affected joints or ligaments. However, if left untreated, the condition may gradually worsen and affect your daily activities. As sudden onset is also possible, seeking medical assistance or physical therapy immediately is essential. Here are the most common signs of ankle arthritis.

    Throbbing Pain

    Exercises that are weight bearing, like walking or jogging, place stress upon your joints. This could cause excruciating pain; The pain could be sharp, intense, dull, or aching. The pain can lead to a more frequent occurrence as the condition worsens. It is possible to experience chronic pain in the back of your foot, the lower part of your shin (tibia), and the mid-point of your foot.


    When the ankle cartilage has been damaged, the talus fibula and tibia bones may grind against each other. This causes swelling in the ankle and discomfort.

    Joint Stiffness

    Bone-on-bone friction and inflammation can make your ankle stiff. Therefore, when the ankle's motion is restricted, it could make the task of pointing and flexing your feet during normal activities challenging.

    Popping or Crunching Sound

    A little popping in the ankle and foot is usual when you regularly move your feet and ankles. But don't dismiss it if you notice an oozing sound while flexing your toes or if you feel slipping, especially when you see an injury or biomechanical change related to it. This could indicate that cartilage has become damaged and cannot effectively safeguard your bones from the effects of fictional dangers.

    Ankle Instability

    Spending a lot of time on your feet, like walking, standing, or walking for long periods, can cause your ankles to curl or lock. This is due to stiffness, and joint pain can alter how you walk. This could cause ankle weakness due to pain and cause weak joint mechanics.

      Diagnosing Arthritis Ankle

      If you're experiencing any of the signs of ankle arthritis listed above, schedule your appointment with a doctor immediately. The condition can be identified by a thorough physical examination, complete medical history, and imaging (if required).

      The doctor will examine your ankle for tenderness, inflammation, joint injuries, bone spurs, and mobility; He might also check your footwear for uneven wear and the mechanics of your movements. Imaging tests can detect the presence of arthritis in ankle joints or identify other possible issues. MRIs or arthro-centesis scans, as well as X-rays as well as radiographs, are all possible when needed.

      Treating Your Ankle Arthritis

      Whatever the state of your ankle, your physician will recommend a treatment plan appropriate to your specific needs. Various factors are assessed, including how old you are, your bone health and body weight and alignment, your activity level, and the degree of ankle arthritis.

      While arthritis isn't cured, there are many ways to alleviate pain and reduce ankle-related symptoms. Although severe cases might require ankle or joint reconstruction surgery, most popular treatments involve managing the symptoms by restoring range of movement, increasing strength, biomechanics training, exercises, NSAIDs, Heat with a Sacksythyme's Heating pad, Cold therapy and anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drugs. This can all be accomplished at home or with the help of a physiotherapist.

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