Arthritis refers to a group of conditions that cause inflammation and damage to the joints of the body. Osteoarthritis falls under this umbrella term and can affect any joint in the body, including your ankle joint which is made up of the tibia, fibula, and the talus. Patients with ankle osteoarthritis often have cartilage damage in the tibiotalar joint. While it may not threaten your life directly, ankle osteoarthritis can limit joint function and mobility, which can decrease your ability to be active and healthy. A significant limitation on movement can also lower your quality of life as you won’t be able to take part in a lot of the activities you want to do.
People with highly active lifestyles, especially those who play sports, have a higher risk of developing ankle osteoarthritis later in life as well as patients with a history of ankle injuries.
Ankle Osteoarthritis Symptoms
The symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis are similar to osteoarthritis symptoms in other parts of the body. They include:
Pain is one of the earliest symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis. The pain will likely be felt in the shin and the middle and back of the foot. It is characterized as a dull, sharp, or aching pain that comes and goes, varying in intensity. The pain tends to get worse with physical activity. At-home treatments usually alleviate the pain in the early stages of ankle osteoarthritis. However, as the condition worsens, you may need prescription medications, physical therapy, and other treatments to get relief.
Another common symptom of ankle arthritis is stiffness in the ankle and foot. You will find it more difficult than usual to flex the ankle in every direction. This symptom is likely to be worse after physical activities that inflame the ankle joint.
Swelling is also a likely symptom of ankle osteoarthritis. This is accompanied by inflammation and pain in the ankle. Applying ice and elevating the foot can help reduce the swelling.
Joint Instability and Balance Issues
One of the dangers of ankle osteoarthritis is instability. Your ankle joint will weaken as a result of this condition, which can make it difficult to balance yourself and put your body’s weight on the ankle. This increases your risk of falling and hurting yourself. Ankle instability and balance issues typically develop when ankle osteoarthritis has progressed significantly. You may need to use an assistive device, such as a cane or walk if your balance and ankle stability is at risk.
Ankle Osteoarthritis Treatment in Maryland
If you are experiencing ankle osteoarthritis symptoms or have a history of ankle injuries, come see the experts at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM) Foot & Ankle Care. Our experienced and compassionate podiatrists are extensively trained to diagnose, treat, and manage conditions and injuries that affect the foot and ankle.
Our goal is to get you back to living a normal life without the limitations imposed on you by conditions like ankle osteoarthritis. Visit us today and see why we were voted the best doctors of Baltimore in 2019.
To schedule a consultation, call the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM) clinic nearest you or send an appointment request now.