WHAT IS ANKLE ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis of the ankle is one of the most common causes of ankle pain. There are several types of arthritis. These include:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, causes the cartilage that surrounds the bone to wear away, decreasing the protective space between the bones. This causes stiffness, swelling and pain, and is most common in people over the age of 50.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that affects joints in various parts of the body including the hands, wrists, knees and shoulders. The disease causes the lining of the joints to swell, causing pain and stiffness.
- Post-traumatic arthritis
Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after an injury, such as a dislocation or fracture.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ANKLE ARTHRITIS?
Symptoms of knee arthritis include:
- Ankle stiffness
- Ankle pain
- Increased pain and swelling in the morning, or after sitting or resting
- Reduced ability to move, walk, put weight on the foot
- Ankle swelling
- Pain with motion and physical activity
HOW IS ANKLE ARTHRITIS DIAGNOSED?
If you are experiencing knee pain, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and may choose to use x-rays to confirm the diagnoses and rule out any other potential conditions.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Some non-surgical treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Cortisone injections
If your ankle arthritis is not resolved, your doctor may recommend ankle surgery. Surgery options include:
Certain types of arthritis can be treated with arthroscopy, during which your orthopaedic surgeon will clean out the inside of your joint. This procedure will provide pain relief. Dr Pirjol conducts arthroscopic debridement and partial meniscectomies in the early stages of arthritis.
- Ankle fusion (arthrodesis)
For sever cases, you surgeon may advise an ankle fusion. This is an operation to "fuse" or stiffen the ankle joint by joining the bones in the ankle. This means the joint no longer has mobility but also means arthritis related symptoms are permanently relieved.
- Total ankle replacement
In severe cases, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend a total ankle replacement. Also known as arthroplasty, the ankle replacement procedure involves replacing damaged cartilage and bone with prosthetic components. New technological advances in surgery mean that the procedure has long-term results.
Dr Pirjol works with patients to exhaust all non-operative treatments available for degenerative diseases before recommending surgery.