Arthritis is a condition that can affect any joint of the body. It can occur in people of all ages and can cause significant pain and discomfort.
As a specialist in treating problems in the foot and ankle, I see a lot of people who are really struggling with ankle arthritis. Long-term pain and stiffness in the ankle can affect so much of normal, everyday life. When I talk with people and explain that their pain can often be managed well with a range of treatments, it is often such a big relief to them.
If you have arthritis in your ankle, or think you might, why not arrange a consultation with me? With no waiting lists, I can see you quickly and help get you out of pain as quickly as possible.
There are a number of different types of arthritis and the one I see most commonly is known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the smooth articular cartilage at the ends of bones to wear down far more quickly than normal. In a healthy joint, the bone surfaces move freely and smoothly over one another. In a joint with osteoarthritis the bones begin to rub when they move, causing causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joint. New bony growths called osteophytes can also form in the ankle, making the joint much stiffer.
As the arthritis progresses, the symptoms also tend to become worse.
At your consultation, I will talk with you about your specific symptoms. I'll want to know how long you've had them, whether they have been getting worse and how they are limiting or affecting your normal life. I believe treatment should be tailored to fit the individual, and this starts with getting to know you, your situation and what you would to see as a result of any treatment.
I'll examine your foot and ankle, to assess how the joint is currently working and to see when it is causing problems or discomfort for you. I will normally arrange for you to have an X-ray of your ankle, as this can help assess the extent of arthritic damage to the joint. If you need any additional diagnostic scans, I will arrange those for you.
Unfortunately, there isn't yet a 'cure' for arthritis. There are however some very good treatments available to help get you out of pain and back to being able to do the things you love.
Treatments fall into two categories; non-surgical (known as 'conservative') and surgical. In nearly all cases, I will always start with conservative treatment. Surgery is most appropriate for more severe arthritis when the joint is damaged extensively.
Conservative treatment includes pain relief medication, splints braces and corticosteroid injections into the ankle joint. The best one(s) for you will be decided when we know the extent of the arthritic damage in the joint.
If these non-surgical treatments don't give you the pain relief you want, or stop being as effective, I may advise you to have ankle surgery. There are two surgical procedures I can carry out:
- Ankle arthrodesis (fusion): Using metal plates or screws, the bones in the ankle are permanently joined together. Although you would expect to have less mobility as a result, the numerous joints in the foot are often able to compensate to a remarkable degree.
- Total ankle replacement surgery: The damaged, worn surfaces of the joint are removed and resurfaced with a cobalt/chrome metal joint. High-density polyethene sits between the metal surfaces and acts as a bearing surface. This surgery maintains movement in the ankle joint and removes the cause of your chronic pain.
Living with arthritis in any joint can be challenging. When it's in the ankle, the pain and problems are often magnified as a result of how involved the ankle joint is in moving and everyday activity.
When the arthritis is in its early stages, your pain may be mild or intermittent. As the arthritis develops, your ankle will become stiffer and more painful and it will become much harder to ignore.
Good help is available for arthritis in the ankle. If you would appreciate talking with someone about managing and treating your arthritis, it would be a real pleasure to help. It is very easy to arrange to see me at Circle, my private secretary will be delighted to schedule a time that's convenient for you.
When we meet, I'll talk about your symptoms with you and will examine your foot and ankle to assess things. Once we know exactly what we are dealing with, I'll talk with you about the most suitable treatment options, so that you can decide what would be best for you.
Get in touch today to get your ankle pain under control as quickly as possible.