Common Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis and Its Treatments

What are the Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

  • Pain in the tibiotalar or ankle joint. This is considered as the most common symptom associated with the condition. Sensations of discomforts and soreness can be felt in the area and can happen with or without any movement. There are some patients that experience severe pain which can limit their movement.

    Pain experienced is also closely associated to other symptoms like stiffness, burning sensations, soreness, and inflammation.

  • Tenderness of the affected joint.

  • Swelling of the ankle. This is due to the increasing amount of liquid substances in the injured joint. Ankle may look bigger than usual when this happens.

  • Stiffening. The affected ankle will experience impeded mobility causing difficulties in moving the ankles.

  • Locking of the tibiotalar. This will prevent total movement of the affected ankle.

  • Clicking and popping sound. Patients can hear a popping or clicking sound when the ankles are moved. These symptoms are usually not accompanied by pain when it happens. These sounds are brought about by the stretching of the tissues that line the ankle joint.

  • Numbness. Patients will feel tiny pricks from pins and needles in the affected ankle.

  • Feelings of instability or giving away. Patients may experience that their ankles or feet cannot support their body weight and will give way making them feel like they will fall when they walk especially on surfaces that are uneven.

How to Treat Ankle Arthritis

  • Non-operative treatment options include administration of anti-inflammatory drugs, walking with a cane or a walking stick, and use of splinting. These methods are recommended for milder cases.

  • Injections of steroids combined with long acting local anesthesia into the ankle joint. This is also recommended for mild cases of ankle arthritis and the effects usually die down after a few months.

  • Ankle arthroscopy. This involves performing a keyhole surgery that helps in treating damaged cartilages in the ankle and cleans loose cartilage of any bone spurs.

  • Fusion of the ankles. Removal of all cartilage residues in the ankle joint is done along with preparing the surfaces of the bones in the area to make way for both parts to fuse completely. The fusion is stabilized by inserting two screws that are made of stainless metal through the use of keyhole surgery. An open ankle fusion can also be done. The fusion usually results in minor movement problems of the ankle.

  • Replacement of the ankle. This is considered as one of the newest form of treating ankle arthritis and involves replacing the tibia and the talus of the bones in the ankles with plastic and metal implants. This greatly preserves normal movement of the ankle and extensively removes the pain that can be felt.

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