Ankle Arthritis Causing You Trouble? –– Physicians' Clinic of Iowa

Ankle Arthritis Causing You Trouble?

By Dr. Scott Ekroth, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa

Ankle arthritis can be a debilitating problem for active adults, especially when symptoms interfere with daily activities. While not as common as arthritis in the hip or the knee, many individuals undergo the same symptoms of pain, stiffness, loss of motion, and catching in their ankle joints.

When we talk about arthritis, we mean that the surface of a particular joint is wearing out. The smooth cartilage surfaces that allow motion in a normal joint are gone, and bony surfaces begin to rub against each other. This causes the usual symptoms of swelling, pain, and loss of motion. Arthritis of the ankle can come from previous injuries, fractures, or inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

There are a variety of treatments for ankle arthritis offered at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. The treatment options depend on the level of arthritis present. Physical therapy, injections, and bracing can help in early stages. As the disease progresses, surgical options can be considered. These can consist of ankle arthroscopy, ankle fusion, or ankle replacement.

Ankle arthroscopy involves placing a camera and instruments into the ankle joint through small incisions. This can be used in early stages of arthritis, when a small “pothole” of missing cartilage is the problem. As more and more cartilage is lost, the two surgical options are ankle fusion or replacement.

Ankle fusion means that the two bones that make up the joint grow together, so that the bony surfaces no longer rub on each other. Ankle fusion has been shown over many years to be a durable solution to the pain associated with ankle arthritis. However, in some individuals, preserving motion at the ankle with a joint replacement is preferable. Ankle replacement involves removing the diseased joint and putting in a new joint made of metal and plastic.

Which treatment is right for you? Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa tailors our care to each individual’s specific needs. If you’re tired of ankle pain, call 319-398-1545 and make an appointment today. We can discuss the options available and find the right solution for you.