The foot and ankle is made up of 28 bones and 33 joints. Development of pain and swelling across the ankle can occur at any age. Typical complaints related to ankle arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, difficulty walking and tenderness around the ankle. There are three main types of arthritis that can affect the foot and ankle:
Osteoarthritis – Wear and type of arthritis that results from aging. There are several known risk factors for this type of arthritis including obesity and genetics.
Post-Traumatic Arthritis – Results from an injury to the foot and/or ankle.
Fractures and dislocations can lead to progressive development of pain, stiffness, and swelling months or years later.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – Inflammatory disease process in which the body attacks itself and results in destruction of joint cartilage. This is believed to be an inherited genetic process.
Ankle arthritis is diagnosed by an orthopaedic surgeon. X-rays of the affected foot/ankle are obtained along with a physical examination to make the diagnosis. Additional testing including an MRI, CT, or Bone scan may be ordered to provide further information and help guide treatment.
Treatments for ankle arthritis range from activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), cortisone injection(s), bracing, and in rare cases, surgery.