Ankle Arthritis: Symptoms Causes and Diagnosing

In this video, Dr. Baravarian discusses ankle arthritis causes and treatment options.

 

When you choose University Foot and Ankle Institute, you're entrusting your care to a team with internationally recognized expertise and decades of combined experience treating ankle arthritis and returning patients to their formerly active life.

 

As experts in the field, UFAI trains other doctors on the latest surgical techniques,  cutting-edge developments in treatment and the most innovative products on the market.

What's Ankle Arthritis?

Ankle arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis, is a degenerative condition in which the articular cartilage of the ankle joint wears thin and eventually breaks down.

 

Without cartilage to protect the bones from the friction of motion, the bones fragment and spurs begin to develop, causing pain and stiffness in the joint.

 

Causes of Ankle Arthritis

Understanding the cause of your ankle arthritis can help your foot and ankle specialist to prescribe the right course of treatment for you. Ankle arthritis most commonly results from one of two causes: joint trauma, or an underlying medical condition.

 

Trauma. A previous sprain or fracture can leave the ankle more prone to arthritis. An ankle that has been subject to some sort of trauma is around 7 times more likely to develop arthritis. As many as 80% of cases of ankle arthritis can be classified as “post-trauma arthritis.” Although the original sprain or fracture may have healed, physiological changes can take place in the ankle to compensate for the injury, resulting in osteoarthritis several years down the road.

 

Underlying Medical Condition. Between 10-15% of cases of ankle arthritis are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, congenital structural defects, blood disorders, and conditions that cause poor circulation. These conditions do not always cause arthritis, but they do make the condition more likely.

 

The degeneration in the joint is gradual, and there is no cure. Although many aging adults dismiss the pain in there ankle as another sign of “old age,” or of an old injury “acting up,” it’s important to seek help for chronic ankle pain. There are a number of treatments that can slow the progress of ankle arthritis, relieve pain, and keep patients on their feet.

 

 

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

Symptoms of ankle arthritis usually develop gradually, and worsen with time and overuse.

  • Pain. Ankle arthritis can cause pain in the ankle, lower shin, mid-foot, and/or rearfoot, and can be dull or acute, chronic or intermittent.
  • Pain after activity. Walking or jogging can cause pain and swelling in the joint.
  • Swelling. As the cartilage wears thin, friction caused by regular ankle motion irritates the joint, causing swelling and discomfort.
  • Stiffness. The increased friction between bones can stiffen the joint, making simple foot functions like pointing and flexing the toes more difficult. The stiffness tends to worsen after long periods of inactivity.
  • Ankle popping. Known as crepitus, the ankle popping with each step is a sure sign of osteoarthritis.

 

 

Diagnosing Ankle Arthritis

Diagnosing Ankle Arthritis
UFAI is one of only a handful of clinics in California with weight bearing CT technology.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of ankle arthritis, make an appointment with a UFAI specialist today.

 

Arthritis can be diagnosed with a full medical history, a physical exam, and advanced imaging technology. Your physician will examine your ankle for swelling, tenderness, joint damage, bone spurs, and a loss of range of motion.

 

Typically one or more tests are performed to confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis.

  • X-ray and radiograph. Although an X-ray can reveal signs of joint damage, it is not the most reliable indicator of osteoarthritis. However, it can aid in making a diagnosis along with a physical exam.
  • MRI. An MRI can provide a more complete picture of the location and degree of cartilage loss.
  • Arthrocentesis. In this procedure, a sample of joint fluid is extracted through a needle. The fluid is then tested to rule out other conditions.
  • 3D pedCAT. The pedCAT is a weight-bearing CT scanning machine that produces a 3D image and allows your specialist to identify points of stress on your ankle while standing. 

 

 

UFAI, the Right Choice for Ankle Arthritis Treatment

When you choose the University Foot and Ankle Institute for you ankle arthritis treatment, you can rest assure that you have chosen a compassionate team of experts with decades of combined experience. Out team of physicians use state-of-the-art equipment, work directly with medical manufacturers to develop new technologies are one of the few foot and ankle practices in the nation that offer the latest treatment options for all stages of ankle arthritis.

 

  • CustomerSure
    I felt I was listened to when I had something to say. I appreciated the communication between the doctors and the Physical Therapist in relation to specific treatment and overall condition.
    Harry T.
  • CustomerSure
    Thanks for taking the extra time to treat my foot during the appointment. You saved us a second trip.
    Jill V.
  • CustomerSure
    Very helpful that my doctor plays hockey since I had a hockey injury!
    Kristina W.
  • CustomerSure
    I am so pleased with the quality of care I received from UFAI. The physicians and therapists are all extremely knowledgeable and caring. The practice is also efficient and organized, and made the whole process of ther...
    Starelle D.
  • Yelp
    I did some research online for a podiatrist after I broke my ankle and I found Dr. Bob. He worked in UCLA before opening his own office, where he now has multiple doctors working with him. He is amazing with patients ...
    Saman S.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Franson has seen my entire family for foot/ankle problems, and treated and solved all of them. The office staff is incredible. I highly recommend this doctor.
    H.W.
  • CustomerSure
    So far everything is going well. I really like Dr. Baravarian and his staff, they did a wonderful job. They are very compassionate and professional at the same time. My family and I are very happy and thankful we fou...
    Jeanette D.
  • Yelp
    I'm thankful that you have Saturday office hours. Making appointments is so easy.
    Michael S.
  • CustomerSure
    I am not kept waiting. Communication is easy with all levels of staff. I love the reminders that are done via computer, in that there are a lot loose ends in my day, and the reminders help me stay organized without h...
    Sharon E.
  • Yelp
    So far, so good. Friendly staff that listens to my concerns. Great doctor, and all around a good experience. Worth the travel into Valencia.
    Tony P.
Same day appointments now available!
or call 24/7:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center