The main symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle and treatment of diseases

Osteoarthritis is a disease characterized by progressive destruction of articular cartilage and proliferation of the pathological process in the whole joint that eventually leads to its complete immobilization. Osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly, they suffer more than half of people older than 60 years.

Ankle osteoarthritis, symptoms and treatment of which are considered in this article are relatively rare, but the resulting dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system are among the most heavy.

ankle osteoarthritis

What is it?

Ankle osteoarthritis has other names: osteoarthritis, deforming osteoarthritis, deforming osteoarthritis (DOA). To understand the mechanism of its development, consider the structure of the joints.

To ensure the mobility of the joints of the bones and their parts that are connected have the same shape and are covered with a thin layer (0.2-0.5 mm), smooth cartilage. To reduce friction of articular cartilage when the joint is surrounded by a sealed by the synovial membrane, filled with liquid acts as a lubricant and nourishes the tissues. The floor of the synovial membrane the joint is protected by a strong joint capsule, to the outer layer which align the ligaments and tendons of the muscles that control the articulating bones.

The ankle joint is a connection between the talus bone of the foot with tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg that cover it on both sides like a fork.

The development of osteoarthritis begins with the fact that due to different reasons: genetic, trauma or metabolic disorders, in the tissues of the articular cartilage degenerative changes occur. First, changing the composition of the synovial fluid, and then on the articular cartilage defects appear, gradually, their surface is covered with sores, the thickness of the cartilage that covers the bones is reduced until their complete destruction. The articulating surface of the bones thicken and thicken at their edges appear growths – osteophytes that limit the mobility of the joint. All these processes are accompanied by pain and reduced physical activity. With disease progression the joint loses its function, pathological changes occur in the tendons and muscles.

Modern methods of treatment of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint allow to slow down its development, and in severe cases, to conduct surgery to replace his joint endoprosthesis.

There are primary and secondary osteoarthritis.

Secondary osteoarthritis is usually the result of injury or illness, endocrine, infectious, autoimmune, causing inflammatory and degenerative processes in the joints.

Primary osteoarthritis develops without any prior injuries and illnesses that could provoke the disease. His appearance can be caused by strain due to obesity or overuse sports training, genetic predisposition, congenital defects of the joints.

The main reasons

The main reasons for the development of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is:

  • Of ankle injury;
  • Congenital malformation – dysplasia of the ankle joint;
  • Inflammation of the tarso..

Most often deforming arthrosis of the ankle joint develops as a result of injuries.

the causes of osteoarthritis of the ankle

Injuries cause primary damage to the cartilage tissue, resulting in inflammation develops, which can trigger the development of osteoarthritis.

The second most frequent cause of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint are congenital abnormality called dysplasia of the ankle joint. This deviation appears during fetal development.

At an early age applied methods of its correction, but the difference of the rubbing surfaces, attached to bones may remain, resulting in uneven abrasion of the articular cartilage and triggers the development of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint.

In the development of secondary osteoarthritis of the ankle significant role of inflammatory processes in the tissues, caused by various diseases. These diseases can be:

  • Autoimmune;
  • Infectious;
  • Metabolic;
  • Endocrine;
  • Genetic.

In addition to these reasons, the development of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint also contribute to the degenerative changes in his cartilage, associated with the elderly and senile age.

The clinical picture

Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint depends on the degree of development of the disease and have the following characteristic manifestations:

  • Pain in the beginning of the movement, the so-called starting pain, when, after rest, the first steps are given pain tarso., and then it subsides. This is one of the symptoms of inflammation of the synovial membrane, which is characteristic for initial stages of osteoarthritis.
  • Pain that occurs when walking, towards evening, which are held at rest.
  • Aching pain at night, which take place in the morning with recovery of physical activity.
  • The crunch in the ankle joint.
  • The appearance of edema.
  • Cramping of leg muscles.
  • Blockade of pain – periodically there is a sharp pain in tarso. the motion due to jamming of particles mortuus cartilage between the surfaces of articular joints.
  • The limitation of the ankle.
  • Fixed deformity of the ankle joint caused by the overgrowth of bone tissue.
  • The weakening of ligaments and atrophy of calf muscles, caused by forced real estate for the pain of the ankle.


The symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle is similar to signs of other diseases of the joints, so it is very important to pass a comprehensive diagnosis of musculoskeletal system for accurate diagnosis. During the examination, the doctor prescribes a common biochemical analysis of blood, determination of the level of CRP, uric acid, rheumatoid sample.

The most informative methods to see the condition of the bones of the foot – radiography in two projections, ultrasound, CT, MRI.

diagnosis of osteoarthritis

They allow us to estimate the size of the gap between the talus bone and the bones of the lower leg, presence of osteophytes, shape and sizes of interfaced surfaces of bone, and on this basis to determine the stage of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint.

The stage of osteoarthritis

There are 3 stages of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint.

Stage I

Osteoarthritis of 1 degree of the ankle joint in the radiograph are not defined. Pathological changes concern mainly the synovial membrane and synovial fluid, nourishes the cartilage. Disorders of the ankle yet.

May experience such symptoms as the appearance of crunch movements and the decrease in stability of the ankle joint to the usual load.

Stage II

The degree of arthrosis 2 ankle joint is characterized by the appearance of starting pain, aching pain at night and pain when walking. With the deepening of the pathological process becomes chronic pain, edema, seizures, begins the deformation of the joint, reduced range of motion of the ankle can begin atrophic changes in the joint capsule, ligaments and muscles.

Radiograph shows reduction of the gap between articulating bones due to thinning of the articular cartilage. Around the perimeter of the bone surfaces appear in small amounts bone growths – osteophytes.

Stage III

The osteoarthritis grade 3 ankle joint is the most difficult stage. Its characteristic feature is a change in the axis of the joint due to the strong deformation of the reference surface of the bones. Develops instability of the ankle joint due to weakened ligaments or a sharp restriction of mobility due to growths of bone tissue. Pain become chronic and require constant intake of painkillers, there is atrophy of muscles and other tissues of the lower leg.

Striking characteristic is the offset of the Central axis of the ankle from its anatomically correct position.

The final stage of the disease

The final stage of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is characterized by the development of ankylosis is complete immobility. In this case the fixation of the foot occurs, as a rule, it is not a physiological position completely breaks the functionality of the limb.


Deforming osteoarthritis of the ankle joint typically develops slowly. From the appearance of initial symptoms to serious violations of the functionality of the ankle, can lead to disability, it takes several years.

ankle osteoarthritis treatment

Early treatment helps to slow down the pathological process and to minimize its painful symptoms. For this purpose, many methods of treatment and prevention, which are aimed at:

  • Prevent inflammation in tarso.;
  • Pain if any;
  • The regeneration of cartilage of the ankle;
  • Improvement of metabolic processes in the ankle joint;
  • Support of mobility of the ankle joint and to ensure the necessary range of motion;
  • Creating the most favourable conditions for the functioning of the ankle.

Pharmacological treatment

For the relief of pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis of the ankle are widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In the acute phase of the inflammatory process inside the joint is injected with injections of corticosteroids, strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.

To accelerate the regeneration of cartilage appoint chondroprotectors, which can be both oral and by intramuscular and intra-articular injection. For imposing inside joints also used hyaluronic acid, which in its composition is identical to synovial fluid, thereby providing cartilage nutrition.

Laser therapy

One of the modern methods for the treatment of pain and inflammation in tarso., affected by osteoarthritis – laser therapy. It is no less effective than injections of corticosteroids, and with much less side effects.


One of the most important conditions for the preservation of the functionality of the ankle affected by osteoarthritis, is the preservation of optimal physical activity. Pain the joints causes patients to limit their movements, which leads to atrophy of the ligaments and muscles, and further exacerbates the problem. It is therefore important to understand the need for physical activity. During exacerbation of osteoarthritis it is necessary to provide tarso. calm, but once the pain syndrome is fixed, after 1-2 days you can start the motor load.


ankle osteoarthritis nutrition

Food for osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is, on the one hand, to satisfy the body's need for nutrients, minerals, vitamins and trace elements, and on the other contribute to getting rid of excess weight, if any. After all, excess weight gives increased load on the ankle, and bringing it back to normal can significantly slow down the development of osteoarthritis.

It is recommended to eliminate from the diet all products which have no nutritional value – sugar, confectionery, flour and pasta, sausage, etc. Eat more fresh greens, vegetables, berries, fruits, lean meats, oily fish, dairy products. Often try to eat foods that contain collagen – jellied meat and fish, jellies based on gelatin, marshmallows, marmalade.

Physical therapy

In the treatment of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint have an important place physiotherapy. As shown by the results of a large-scale study conducted by the U.S. Agency for health care quality, most effective methods of physiotherapy in osteoarthritis are: massage, warming, rhythmic joint mobilisation.


To take care of the health of their joints is important for everyone, especially those who are at risk for osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is listed in the section "risk Factors". It is important to recognize the increased risk of developing the disease, and the appearance of the slightest symptoms of osteoarthritis: the crunch in the joints, pain during movement and after exercise, consult with an orthopedist.

To reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis will help the following preventive measures:

  • Getting rid of excess weight, if any. Remember that tens of kilograms of stored fat not only spoil the appearance, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, but also a heavy burden on the leg joints and spine. Arthritis is a serious disease, leading to disability associated with chronic pain. The pleasure of eating biscuits and sweets hardly worth such risks.
  • Regular motor activity. If you take care of the joints, relieving them from their movements, it is possible not to continue their healthy age, but on the contrary, to reduce. For the health of the joints need a constant motor load, because it causes the inflow of synovial fluid to cartilage, whereby their nutrition and regeneration. Make it a rule every day to walk and perform joint exercises, this will provide normal conditions for the health of their joints.
  • Avoiding excessive physical load on the legs. Among the people who have problems with talos, a large percentage of weightlifters, bodybuilders. For achievements in sport, often pay health of the joints. Are you ready to pay the price?
prevention of the disease

We would like to emphasize the role of footwear in the development of osteoarthritis of the ankle joints. You run the risk of suffering osteoarthritis of the ankle if:

  • Often wear high heels.
  • Run in shoes not designed for this purpose (only one correct option – running shoes).
  • Harmful wear orthotics. According to recent studies, orthotics neutralize the shock absorbing properties of the foot, causing the joints of the spine and the legs feel when walking shock. This may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. The therapeutic effect of orthopedic shoes for flat feet, these studies did not confirm it.