Ankle Arthritis

Ankle arthritis at a glance

  • Ankle arthritis is a painful inflammation and stiffness of the ankle joint, which can be caused by various types of degenerative joint conditions.
  • Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the ankle joint, as well as loss of mobility.
  • Treatment for arthritis depends on the severity, but generally includes exercise, hot or cold compresses, ankle braces, and pain medication. Talk to your pharmacist before purchasing anti-inflammatories as these medications may be contraindicated as they may interact with other medications and medical conditions.
  • Severe cases of ankle arthritis may require surgical treatment, such as joint fusion or total ankle replacement.

Learn about Arthritis (General)

Causes of arthritis in the foot and ankle

Ankle arthritis can develop from the normal wear-and-tear of aging, causing the cartilage in the ankle joint to break down. Additionally, degenerative joint conditions such as immune system disorders, repetitive stress and joint overuse can also contribute to ankle arthritis.

Symptoms of ankle arthritis

Symptoms of ankle arthritis typically include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the ankle joint. As the symptoms progress, there may be some loss of mobility in the ankle joint.

Treatment for ankle arthritis

Home care for ankle arthritis includes rest, heat and ice, and compression of the ankle joint with an elastic bandage or ankle brace. Over-the-counter pain medication may help reduce the symptoms of ankle arthritis.

If the pain and swelling caused by ankle arthritis becomes debilitating, it may be necessary to proceed with surgical treatment.

Ankle fusion surgery (arthrodesis)

In ankle fusion surgery, also known as arthrodesis, the two bones of the ankle joint are fused together using either a bone graft or metal implants. Although this surgery ultimately makes the ankle joint less flexible, it also reduces or eliminates joint pain and makes the ankle more stable overall.

Total ankle replacement surgery (arthroplasty)

In total ankle replacement surgery, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with artificial joint materials. Learn more about STAR total ankle replacement surgery.

If you have arthritis in the ankle, or are experiencing arthritis symptoms, contact us to request an appointment with our orthopedic specialists and start your road to recovery.