Published: Nov. 11, 2010
Updated: Dec. 29, 2010
Post-traumatic ankle arthritis is a form of ankle arthritis that is caused by a direct injury to the ankle. Symptoms can form years after the trauma occurred.
Direct trauma or injury to the foot can lead to the development of arthritis. In an injury -- such as a fracture, severe sprain, or ligament injury -- cartilage may be damaged.
Cartilage, the smooth surface covering the ends of bones, allows for the the joint to move freely. When the cartilage wears away, bone rubs on bone, resulting in arthritic symptoms.
Symptoms of post-traumatic ankle arthritis include:
A physical examination of the ankle, with focus on pain, will help your doctor with diagnosis.
A review of your medical history will also help your doctor understand if your symptoms are a result of a past foot injury, or if arthritis runs in your family.
X-ray imaging can show changes in the spacing between bones or in the shape of the bones, and also rule out other underlying conditions like fracture. Other imaging tools, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also help confirm diagnosis.
Symptoms of arthritis may be relieved with improved (wider and less restrictive) footwear and orthodics, such as shoe inserts or arch supports, which may offer your feet padding and shielding. In some cases, custom-made shoes may be recommended.
Anti-inflammatory medicines -- such as aspirin or ibuprofen -- or cortisone injections may also be prescribed by your doctor.
Physical therapy, weight control, and nutritional supplements may also be recommended.
When nonsurgical treatments are no longer effective, surgery may be considered.
At Duke Orthopaedics, our doctors often use arthroscopic cartilage repair to treat post-traumatic ankle arthritis. The following video demonstrates this procedure.