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Ankle Arthritis Treatment in Illinois

Our Orthopedists Are Here to Help You

The ankle is comprised of three bones – the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. These bones form the ankle joint, enabling an up and down movement of the foot. The ends of these bones are covered with a thin layer of articular cartilage, which is a slippery substance that allows the bones in a joint to glide freely and smoothly over each other during movement. Articular cartilage also acts as a cushion for the joint, protecting the bones from damage.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the ankle joint that causes damage to the surrounding cartilage. As the condition progresses, the articular cartilage in the ankle joint begins to slowly break down, allowing the joint ends of the bones to rub together. This results in pain and stiffness in the ankle and foot, and over time can lead to irreparable damage to the joint.

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

The following symptoms are commonly associated with arthritis of the ankle:

  • Pain, tenderness, or stiffness in the ankle
  • Stiffness or reduced motion
  • Swelling of ankle
  • Difficulty walking

Causes of Ankle Arthritis

There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, many of which can affect the ankle joint.

The three most common forms of the disease to affect the ankle and foot include:

  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis of the ankle is the result of wear and tear to the cartilage of the joint. As the articular cartilage wears away, the protective cushion between the ankle bones is lost, allowing the bones to rub together resulting in pain and stiffness in the affected area. While osteoarthritis can present in younger patients, it is more common among older adults. People with a family history of osteoarthritis are often more prone to develop the condition as they enter middle age.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can affect multiple joints throughout the body. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system begins to attack the body’s own tissues, resulting in damage to cartilage and ligaments. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears in the smaller joints, such as the ankle or wrist.
  • Post Traumatic Arthritis – Post traumatic arthritis often develops as the result of injuries to the foot or ankle. Dislocations and fractures are the most common injuries associated with post traumatic arthritis of the ankle and foot. A previously injured joint, even when properly treated, is more likely to become arthritic than an uninjured joint.

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