What is ankle arthritis?
The ankle is a complex joint that transmits the body forces via the lower limb to the foot by acting as a mobile adaptor and a lever arm. Ankle Arthritis occurs when the ankle joint has damaged or worn out cartilage.
Causes of ankle arthritis:
Ankle arthritis can occur following wear and tear or related to sport injury or trauma. This results in gradual thinning of the cartilage as well as bone spurs that call catching, locking and pain. Long term instability following a twisting ankle injury can tear or injure the ligaments resulting in long term arthritic changes.
Symptoms of ankle arthritis:
- Ankle pain stiffness and swelling
- Popping or crunching sound when pointing of flexing the toes
- Reduced ability to move and walk
Diagnosing ankle arthritis:
The diagnostic process for ankle arthritis should involve utilising a thorough examination by one of our ankle specialists alongside a detailed history to identify how the injury affects your life and sports activity if relevant. Diagnosing ankle arthritis can also include using x-rays with or without stressing the ankle and sometimes a dye may be injected to evaluate capsule tears know as an arthrogram.
An MRI and an Ultrasound can be used to evaluate a tendon tear, ligament tears and cartilage problems such as osteochondral defects that are holes in the cartilage surface.
In complex fractures a CT scan may be used to diagnose and reconstruct the fracture in 3D to help plan the operation to restore anatomy.
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