Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint: symptoms and treatment. Causes and prevention of arthrosis

Ankle arthrosis is a very serious disease that always requires a qualified approach to treatment. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to cope with this pathology. However, modern medicine offers effective means to reduce the level of existing inflammation and slow the progression of the disease.

What is a disease?

The ankle joint connects the lower leg to the ball of the foot. Basically, it moves along the frontal axis, thus providing flexion and extension of the foot. Lateral movements are characterized by a minimum amplitude.

inflammation of the ankle joint with arthrosis

Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint, the symptoms and treatment of which are directly related, is a process of sequential destruction of the joint tissue. The pathology includes a violation of the usual tissue structure, the death of part of the cartilage cells, the formation of cracks on its surface and the compression of the bones. If you do not take the medicine prescribed for arthrosis of the joints, it becomes deformed and its normal functioning becomes really impossible.

The older the person is, the higher the likelihood of developing degenerative-destructive changes in him. In this case, the musculoskeletal system is no exception. Approximately 10% of the world's population over the age of 40 is reported to suffer from osteoarthritis. In developed countries, the number of patients aged 65 and over varies from 60 to about 80%.


The first stage of the disease is characterized by a direct narrowing of the joint space, the cartilage itself swells and softens. Arthrosis of the 2nd degree is distinguished by the fact that microcracks are formed in the areas with the greatest pressure of the articular heads, and visible extensions in the places with the least pressure. In the third and fourth stages, a rupture of the cartilage occurs, followed by the formation of cysts, the growth of so-called bone calluses (osteophytes). As a result, the articular heads themselves are flattened, which does not allow the leg to perform normal movements.

Doctor's Advice for Ankle Arthritis

The main reasons

Very rarely, the disease is primary, that is, it appears spontaneously. More often it is secondary and is explained by the influence of a number of factors. The causes of osteoarthritis of the ankle can be as follows:

  • Damage to the musculoskeletal apparatus of the foot and the joint itself (flat feet, hereditary dysplasia of the connective tissue).
  • Post-traumatic arthrosis (dislocation, sprain, bruise).
  • Inflammation of an immune nature.
  • Infectious injury.
  • Various types of neurological disorders (osteochondrosis, neuritis).
  • Metabolic pathologies (obesity, rickets, gout).

The causes of arthrosis of the ankle joint often lie in the constant wearing of high-heeled shoes. The unnatural location of the foot provokes an increase in the load several times on the ankle itself. The risk group also includes athletes, dancers and those whose weight significantly exceeds the standard indicators.

wearing high-heeled shoes as a cause of ankle arthrosis

How does osteoarthritis of the ankle appear? Symptoms and treatment

First of all, patients notice painful discomfort when trying to stand fully upright, as well as the appearance of a characteristic crisis during movements. Over time, the pain becomes stronger and persists even at rest. The limitation of leg mobility along different axes gradually worsens. The joint itself increases in size, the leg is slightly curved. In the advanced stages of the pathology, pain can also be felt in the knee and hip joints.

ankle pain due to osteoarthritis

Conservative therapy

Most drugs that reduce pain belong to the group of so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

ankle osteoarthritis pills

These drugs allow you to get rid of pain, but they also have some disadvantages. The thing is that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have an extremely negative effect on the gastric mucosa. For example, with prolonged use in patients, gastritis often worsens and even an ulcer appears. That is why the receipt of such funds is foreseen in short courses to minimize the negative consequences.

Local treatment of the affected area involves reducing inflammation in the joint. Thus, it is possible to reduce the progression of the disease, that is, to keep the inflammatory process under constant control. Such therapy is prescribed if the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been ineffective.

Local treatment involves the use of gels that have anesthetic components in their composition. However, this cost is fully justified. Ointments and gels give an excellent therapeutic effect, especially when combined with other medications.

Some patients are prescribed chondroprotectors. They help cartilage to recover and significantly improve tissue synthesis.

Surgical treatment

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to overcome ankle arthrosis through drug therapy alone. Sometimes medicines are ineffective. In this type of situation, the doctor decides on surgical intervention. The surest way to stop the degenerative process is arthroscopy.

This procedure is performed using a special instrument, which is inserted into the affected area through microincisions. This operation allows you to remove all bone growths.

surgery for osteoarthritis of the ankle

exercise therapy

Exercise therapy is prescribed for many types of arthrosis. Such exercises are especially effective in the post-traumatic variant of the disease. Therapeutic exercises for arthrosis are mainly aimed at restoring lost muscle tone, as well as expanding the range of motion in the ankle itself.

Initially, such exercises are chosen that require a minimal load. They are performed in a lying position (for example, circular movements on the legs). Then the lessons become more difficult. The exercises are performed in a sitting position (the leg rotates without lifting the heels from the floor). Note that in each case, a set of exercises is selected individually by a doctor.

exercises for ankle arthritis


First of all, experts strongly recommend avoiding injuries and mechanical damage to the joint. To do this, you should choose shoes with stable heels, and when playing sports, use special protective equipment.

It is very important to control body weight, because it is overweight that is often the main reason that arthrosis of the ankle joint develops. The symptoms and treatment of this pathology should not be ignored. When the primary symptoms appear, you should seek qualified help, do not try to solve the problem yourself.

Also, experts recommend following a diet with a high content of protein foods. You should give up for some time excessively salty and fatty foods, as well as alcohol.


In this article, we have shown in as much detail as possible what constitutes arthrosis of the ankle joint. Symptoms and treatment, causes and prevention are just some of the topics answered in detail here. Note that the effectiveness of therapy for a disease depends not only on its specific stage of development and the presence of accompanying health problems, but also on the competent compliance with all the doctor's recommendations.