Ankle Arthritis: Causes, Warning Signs, and Minimally-invasive Therapies

Ankle arthritis happens when the cartilage along the joint degenerates, causing pain and loss of mobility. The condition is often due to rheumatoid arthritis or trauma to the joint. Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister applies technological innovations to manage pain and restore joint function. This article breaks down the facts on the disease and treatment options.

What causes ankle arthritis?

Arthritis is an umbrella term for various conditions that describe the inflammation of the joints. It often occurs due to aging, causing swelling and pain around the area.

Statistics show osteoarthritis affecting the ankle is less prevalent than knee or hip osteoarthritis. Ankle problems are usually from rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune attacks tissues. Typically, it affects both ankles, and its symmetrical pattern is a distinct feature of the disease.

Scientists have not established factors that trigger the immune system reaction. But it could be bacteria, viruses, or genetic anomalies. Tobacco consumption may also lead to inflammation.

The inflammation attacks the cartilage, which absorbs pressure around the joint. As the cartilage tissue degenerate, it creates space between the bones. Knee arthritis may cause pain and stiffness that worsens early in the day.

When to consult a podiatrist

Ankle arthritis is a chronic condition that requires long-term management and care. Even though it hardly calls for immediate medical intervention, some symptoms require a doctor’s examination.

Ankle arthritis may require prompt diagnosis if you notice:

  • Warmth and redness around the joint: If the affected area is uncharacteristically warm to the touch. That is usually a sign of an infection.
  • Diminished mobility: If you have trouble placing weight on the affected foot, consider consulting your podiatrist. The condition can rapidly intensify and cause other complications.
  • ·         Locked joint: If the ankle cannot move, it could indicate a shard of bone in the joint. The bone fragments can force the condition to progress rapidly. It often requires immediate medical intervention.
  • Trauma on the joint: Ankle arthritis may require immediate intervention if the pain is in an area affected by past injuries. The fractures may leave splinters in the joint that exacerbate bone deterioration and tissue inflammation.

Ankle arthritis management and Treatment

You can manage mild cases with lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and exercising. Reducing weight could alleviate symptoms since excess fat influences the joint’s function. Note when flare-ups occur and avoid doing things that seem to intensify pain and swelling.

Treatment may involve wearing ankle braces to support the joint and minimize inflammation. The device is ideal for arthritis symptoms causing weight-bearing pain. Medical-grade braces can enhance stability and reduce friction on the joint.

Your podiatrist may also recommend physiotherapy, pain medication, and platelet-rich plasma injections. PRP injections have growth factors to speed up healing and reduce inflammation. It can address pain and swelling in about ten days.

Surgical procedures are recommended only after exhausting minimally-invasive options. Your podiatrist will run tests to check the function of the joint before any procedure. Reconstruction surgery applies cutting-edge techniques to minimize side effects and complications.

For more information on ankle arthritis treatments, call Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute or schedule an appointment on the website today.

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