OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE ANKLE

Osteoarthritis of the ankle usually occurs in ankles that have experienced trauma, infection, or injury.

A smooth, slippery, fibrous connective tissue, called articular cartilage, acts as a protective cushion between bones. Arthritis develops as the cartilage begins to deteriorate or is lost. As the articular cartilage is lost, the joint space between the bones narrows.

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This is an early symptom of osteoarthritis of the ankle and is easily seen on X-rays.

As the disease progresses, the cartilage thins, becoming grooved and fragmented. The surrounding bones react by becoming thicker. They start to grow outward and form spurs. The synovium (a membrane that produces a thick fluid that helps nourish the cartilage and keep it slippery) becomes inflamed and thickened. It may produce extra fluid, which causes additional swelling.

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SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE ANKLE often include:

Tenderness or pain

Stiffness in the joint

Swelling in the joint

Reduced ability to move, walk, or bear weight

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the ankle will most likely involve:

A medical history

Physical exam

X-rays

MRI or CT scans

In the past, when traditional treatments like anti-inflammatory and pain medications didn’t quite work, doctors had no other alternative but to suggest surgery. Surgery to treat osteoarthritis of the ankle typically consists of bone fusion or complete replacement of the ankle joint. More times than not, the recovery process of these procedures are long and painful. Now, there is a possible alternative to all the pain and suffering…