Ankle arthritis

Inflammation in your ankle joint.

Wear-and-tear of the ankle joint causing pain, stiffness and lack of mobility

What is arthritis of the ankle?

In ankle arthritis also referred to as osteoarthritis, the shock absorbing cartilage of the joint is worn, causing pain, stiffness and a lack of mobility. In the ankle most arthritis cases follow trauma such as an ankle fractures or severe ankle sprains. It can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, where the body attacks itself, or other inflammation conditions such as gout or pseudogout.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of ankle arthritis? icon plus

    If you have ankle arthritis, you'll probably experience pain, stiffness, and swelling around the ankle.

    The level of pain can vary from person to person and you might notice it more at different times. Early on, you'll tend to notice it only after prolonged or high impact activities. If the condition progresses, you might notice it more often, or after lower level exercise.

    In severe cases it could keep you awake at night and interfere with your sleep. Ankle arthritis has been shown to affect quality of life as much as end stage heart failure.
  • How is ankle arthritis diagnosed? icon plus

    Your consultant will take a full history of your problem, examine you fully, and may also order appropriate investigations such as standing X-rays, MRI or CT scans. You may also have some blood tests to look for causes of inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Your consultant will always recommend non-surgical options first, such as activity modification, pain killers, weight loss, ankle supports or braces, and physiotherapy. In some cases they may recommend injections into the joint.

    If non-operative treatments have not worked, then you surgery may be discussed with you. There are three main surgical options for ankle arthritis:

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From complex foot and ankle surgery to straightforward orthopaedic procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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