Ankle Arthritis

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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.

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?

Ankle Arthritis

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.

What happens if Ankle Arthritis is left untreated?

Ankle Arthritis

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.

Ankle Arthritis
Foot Pain

What are the non-operative treatments for Ankle Arthritis?

Patients with evidence of ankle arthritis are encouraged to attempt non operative treatments.  These include Rest, Anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, activity modification, weight loss, physiotherapy, and shoe wear modifications.

What are the surgical treatments for Ankle Arthritis?

Surgery is offered to patients who remain symptomatic despite exhausting all non-operative measures.  The goal of ankle arthritis surgery is to relieve your pain and allow you to function normally in your daily activities. 

Every arthritic ankle is different, and a detailed pre-operative assessment by Dr. Chow will ensure the appropriate operation is tailored to the individual patient.  Dr. Chow has extensive experience locally and internationally on the various procedures that are required to address these factors and will offer you the best procedure to fit the needs of yourself and your ankle. 

Arthritis Surgery may involve:

Potential complications of Ankle Arthritis Surgery

All surgical procedures involve inherent risk of complications.  However, these risks are generally uncommon and quite infrequent.  These include anesthetic complications, wound infections, deep infections, nerve injuries, tendon injuries, bleeding, fracture, failure of bone to heal, ongoing pain, stiffness, chronic regional pain syndrome, blood clots, failure of the procedure to relieve all of the presenting symptoms and development of arthritis in other joints of the foot and ankle. 

Patients can minimize the risk of complications by carefully following post-operative instructions.

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At Care First Orthopaedic our team of highly experienced surgeons provide comprehensive treatment and management for all orthopaedic conditions. Our comprehensive services help you achieve better bone and joint health to sustain an active lifestyle.

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