Ankle Osteoarthritis

September 1st, 2017 by LOC Team


The joint where the shin bone and the ankle is a very common place for osteoarthritis to occur. This joint gets a lot of wear throughout our life times, and over time this wear can turn into osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is known as an age-related condition and goes by many names, including wear and tear arthritis and degenerative joint disease. The symptoms below will typically occur slowly, over many years, however, there are some exceptions to this rule. An injury to the ankle that causes a fast wear on the joint can be one example of this exception.

The symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis

The symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis vary from patient to patient, but the following symptoms are typically present:

  • Swelling in the ankle joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Weakened ability to walk or move

Diagnosing ankle osteoarthritis

Diagnosing ankle osteoarthritis isn’t always easy. As you can see from the above symptoms, these are hardly symptoms specific to osteoarthritis. Your GP will conduct the first stage of diagnosis. They will ask look into your medical history and ask you about the symptoms you are feeling in your ankle. They will also examine your foot and ankle to find the source of the pain and other symptoms you’re feeling.

After this initial test, your GP may recommend that you see a specialist for further tests. These tests may include:

  • Bone scans
  • X-rays
  • MRI scans
  • Gait analysis – this is a test in which the way you walk is measured. This test can help the doctor grasp where in the joint the problem may be.

The treatment for ankle osteoarthritis

As I’m sure you already know, there is no cure for ankle osteoarthritis. However, there are plenty of treatments available that can help you live with the condition and manage any symptoms that you may have. Most of the treatments are non-surgical, and surgical methods are only used as a last resort if you are in a considerable amount of pain.

Non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis include:

  • Arch supports
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the ankle joint
  • Physiotherapy
  • Weight control
  • Supplements
  • The use of a walking stick
  • Steroid injections into the ankle

The treatments that you receive may vary from the list above. However, it does cover most of the treatments available for ankle osteoarthritis. In all likelihood, you will receive a combination of the treatments above for the most effective management of osteoarthritis possible.

Your doctor might also advise that you wear shoes that fit your feet properly. These should feel comfortable and offer your feet a lot of support. Alas, this may mean your days of wearing high-heels are over, but these shoes will do wonders for your pain.

We hope this piece has aided your understanding of osteoarthritis in the ankle. If you would like to find out more about other common foot and ankle conditions, please explore our blog further. If you would like our help with finding the cause of the pain in your ankle, please talk to our specialists, they will be happy to help.