Ankle Arthritis

Pancholi Foot and Ankle -  - Podiatrist

Meeta S. Pancholi, DPM, FACFAS, CWS

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Hazleton, PA & Palmerton, PA

Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis is common in the small joints of the foot and ankle making it difficult to walk and perform your favorite activities. Foot doctors can provide specialized care for ankle and lower extremity arthritis. At Pancholi Foot & Ankle with locations in Hazleton and Palmerton, PA, patients from Lehigh Valley and Allentown have access to many treatment options available to relieve the symptoms of ankle arthritis.

Ankle Arthritis Q & A

by Meeta S. Pancholi, DPM, FACFAS, CWS

Ankle Arthritis

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a general term meaning “joint inflammation.” This inflammation occurs in and around the body’s joints and soft tissues. It can cause pain and stiffness. Joint deterioration can also be present in some types of arthritis. This deterioration is caused when the cushioning between the joints is lost and, as a result, bones rub against each other. Arthritis can be painful, resulting in limited motion, loss of joint function, and deformities in the joints affected.

What Types of Arthritis Affect the Ankle?

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints, common in the small joints that make up the foot. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, the major types of arthritis that affect the foot and ankle are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis that is the result of "wear-and-tear," where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away. As this happens, the protective space between the bones decreases. This can produce pain as the bone rubs on bone. Osteoarthritis develops slowly, causing pain and stiffness that worsens over time.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.
  • Posttraumatic Arthritis - Posttraumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot or ankle such as dislocations and fractures. Similar to osteoarthritis, posttraumatic arthritis causes the cartilage between the joints to wear away.

How Is Ankle Osteoarthritis Treated?

Many nonsurgical options exist for the treatment of ankle osteoarthritis. These nonsurgical methods include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom shoes
  • Weight control
  • Pads or arch supports
  • Joint injections 
  • Canes or braces to support the joints
  • Insert orthotics that support the ankle and foot
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling

If surgery is required, your doctor will discuss the best option for you and your present circumstances. More than one kind of surgery may be required depending on the extent of your arthritis. These types of surgery can include fusion surgery, which involves fusing bones together using rods, pins, screws, or plates, and joint replacement surgery that replaces the ankle joint with artificial implants and ankle arthroscopy is used to both diagnoses the problem and clean out the joint utilizing a camera.  

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