Diagram of ankle pain for ankle arthritis treatment
October 7, 2022
  • Coriel Orthopaedic Group

Painful Ankle Due to Ankle Arthritis – When to Seek Treatment

Diagram of ankle pain for ankle arthritis treatment

There are several causes for a painful ankle. Keep reading to learn more about the cause of your symptoms and how you can get treatment for ankle arthritis in Doncaster.

What can cause a painful ankle?

Pain around the ankle is generated from the soft tissues around the ankle including the tendons, nerves and ligaments or from within the joint itself. Most commonly, pain is caused following an injury to any of the above structures. The other causes include arthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, injury to the ankle, stress fractures, a sprained ankle, Achilles tendonitis and infections.

When does your ankle pain signify ankle arthritis?

It is difficult to be certain of ankle arthritis. If you have constant pain in your ankle and you are noticing stiffness in the joint limiting the movements, please consult your doctor who will examine you and perform weight-bearing x-rays of your ankle. You may need a referral to an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist. You may also need a few more investigations depending on the stage and type of arthritis.

Commonly, ankle arthritis is injury related. Other causes of ankle arthritis include reactive, inflammatory, gout, infective and rheumatoid arthritis among a few others. You may need some routine blood tests and scans to determine the root cause of your symptoms.

Taking an anti-inflammatory pill as part of treatment for ankle arthritis

How can you manage ankle arthritis?

Support your ankle with a brace that you can get from the local chemist or online stores.

Modify your lifestyle – include physical activities, take routine anti-inflammatory medications (advice from your doctor), and do some physiotherapy. If these measures fail to relieve your symptoms, you may need to seek specialist advice.

Seeking Treatment for ankle arthritis – what are my other options for managing it?

The management will depend on how bad your arthritis is. In very early stages, a single injection in the joint will suffice, followed by continued non-operative treatment.

If the arthritis is associated with some mechanical symptoms, a joint cleaning procedure carried out through a keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery may be useful. This is called ankle debridement. It is a day case procedure involving a couple of very tiny cuts in the front of the ankle and assessing the inside of the joint through a telescope to clear off the painful inflamed tissues from within the joint. 

If there are associated deformities of the bones or joints, you may be eligible for a re-alignment procedure which will bring your ankle and heel to a straight position.

If your ankle arthritis has progressed to bone-on-bone (end-stage), you will be offered a fusion (ankle arthrodesis) or an ankle replacement.

Which is better for you: a fusion or a replacement?

An ankle fusion is a preferred option for someone who is less than 50 years of age, has a physically demanding job, and has an active lifestyle, with good joints in the rest of the foot.

Ankle replacement, on the other hand, is suitable for someone with a sedentary lifestyle and with good muscle balance around the ankle. If other joints in your foot are also affected by arthritis, an ankle replacement is advantageous. However, in the case of severe deformity and instability in the ankle joint along with high BMI, an ankle replacement is not preferred.

Your specialist will discuss this in detail. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you today:

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