Ankle Arthritis

What is Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle Arthritis is a disease in which the normal working joint between the tibia (shinbone) and ankle bone (talus) is damaged resulting in loss of cartilage lubrication, inflammation, pain, swelling and stiffness.  

What is the most common cause of Ankle Arthritis?

By far the most common cause of Ankle Arthritis is a history of previous trauma, fracture, or dislocation to the ankle.  Ankle arthritis is a result of altered contact forces due to the trauma leading to degeneration of cartilage and arthritis.  Ankle Arthritis can develop quickly over months or may take several years to occur.

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Care First Orthopaedic - Ankle Arthritis

What are other causes Ankle Arthritis?

Less common causes of Ankle arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, infection, gout, and avascular necrosis.

What are the symptoms of Ankle Arthritis?

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How do you diagnose Ankle Arthritis?

Dr. Chow will take a thorough medical history to delineate the nature of the pain, evaluate the degree of functional impairment and assess any deformity that may be present.  Risk factors such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes and any other significant medical history will be considered.  Diabetes and cigarette smoking greatly reduce the healing capability of any surgery and increase the risk of infection.


A physical examination will be undertaken to evaluate the areas of tenderness, the range of motion of the ankle and isolate any other areas that may be symptomatic.


Imaging is essential to evaluate the arthritis within the ankle and assess any deformity that may be present.  Weight bearing x-rays of the foot and ankle are reviewed and subsequent CT scans or MRI’s may be required.

Care First Orthopaedic - Ankle Arthritis

What happens if Ankle Arthritis is left untreated?

Ankle arthritis commonly has a fluctuating course and you may notice there are times when the pain better and there are other times when the pain is worse.


There is no cure for Ankle Arthritis and with continued activity the arthritis will naturally progress. 


Non-operative management is the first line of treatment to help relieve pain and disability for patients with Ankle Arthritis.

Do I need Surgery for Ankle Arthritis?

If you have exhausted non-operative measures and your pain is preventing you from partaking in daily activities, you should seek a surgical opinion.

Care First Orthopaedic - Ankle Arthritis
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Ankle Arthritis Treatments

View treatments for Ankle Arthritis that our Doctors recommend.

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