Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint: treatment, symptoms, diagnosis

ankle massage for arthritis

Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint develops at any age. Dystrophic changes lead to gradual immobilization of the joint. Treatment in the early stages leads to a positive result, neglect of the process can be corrected with a surgical operation.

The ankle joint is one of the mobile joints in the lower extremities that plays an important role in the gait process. Physiologically, it is arranged in such a way that a failure of the work of one of the joints will lead to a pathological effect on adjacent components.

The disease itself destroys connective tissue and bone tissue. Osteoarthritis deforms the joint, deprives it of mobility and can lead to a complete loss of motor ability.

The pathogenesis of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint

One of the complex joints in humans that has the shape of a block connects the small and tibial bones of the lower leg with the talus of the foot. The anatomical structure allows the joint to move in several planes and not only performs forward, backward and side abductions, but also performs slightly circular movements.

A degenerative-dystrophic disease that affects the ankle joint is often found not only in old age. Provocative factors can contribute to the development of the disease that crosses the root causes. Ankle osteoarthritis leads to serious health problems that deprive the patient of the ability to work.

The initial stage of the disease is characterized by pathological processes that destroy the cartilage layer, making it thin and inelastic.

Such a change in the structure entails a restructuring of all components:

  • the joint space between the heads of the bones becomes narrow;
  • synovial fluid changes its chemical composition and thickens;
  • the interior of the joint capsule must become inflamed;
  • the subarchidal layer of bone becomes dense and grows;
  • with a prolonged course of disease, osteophytes (bone growth) occur;
  • the joint is deformed.

The whole process takes a long time. The initial phase is dangerous for the smoothing of symptoms. The first changes can be stopped with early diagnosis, while retaining all the functionality of the mobile joint.

In the later stages, with significant deformities and the ineffectiveness of conservative treatment, it is recommended to perform a surgical operation to replace the affected joint.

Causes of pathology

Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint develops when the following factors occur:

  1. With age, pathological changes begin in the body, starting the destruction process in the moving connection of the bones. People over fifty can be at risk, especially if a person leads an unhealthy lifestyle or has concomitant diseases.
  2. With the advent of extra pounds, the load increases, creating too much pressure on the joint. The bone in the area of the foot begins to deform, parallel to the wear cartilage tissue that acts as a natural shock absorber.
  3. Intense physical activity at work or sports training. The articulation is exposed to regularly increased pressure, which is physiologically destructive.
  4. Damage to the ankle joint (fractures, dislocations, sprains, bruises) of varying degrees of prescription. Mechanical impact with the appearance of microtrauma changes the course of self-renewal processes in the joint.
  5. The hanging of the arch of the foot, which appears at birth or is acquired in the process of life. Improper distribution of the load during movement, violation of the spring function is compensated by the nearby joint, which is the ankle.
  6. Congenital deformities in the absence of the necessary treatment lead to negative consequences for the body, including dystrophic changes in the tissues of the joint.
  7. Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint can be a direct result of wearing the wrong shoes, which gives a wrong position of the foot while walking. High heels, insufficient fullness of the model, the complete absence of a heel, an uncomfortable read, a discrepancy in the size of the shoes "kills" the legs.
  8. Decreased muscle tone due to a sedentary lifestyle.
  9. There is a genetic predisposition. If a pathology was registered in relatives, a person puts himself at great risk by not complying with the rules of prevention.
  10. Autoimmune diseases cause osteoarthritis. The basis of this group of diseases is the body's self-destruction of its own cells.
  11. Metabolic disturbances affect the joints, creating a deficit in the supply of "building" material in the form of trace elements.
  12. Pathologies due to malfunction of the endocrine glands: diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and others.
  13. Hormonal disorders during body restructuring in older women.

Signs of the disease

Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint has a hidden onset. Symptoms do not manifest themselves pronouncedly, therefore the patient may not be aware of discomfort in the pelvic area during active movements. The first stage is discovered by chance, a person does not seek medical attention during this period.

In the initial phase, pain occurs in the ankle area during fast running, long walks and jumps. After rest, the pain disappears and does not bother the patient at rest. The stage of dystrophic changes in the cartilage lasts for years; in the next stage, ankle osteoarthritis traps the bone layer.

In the second stage of osteoarthritis, a click occurs when moving the foot, the pain becomes more intense during exercise. In the morning, after waking up, there is a slight stiffness in the joint, which disappears after the patient walks a little.

With the aggravation of the process, the joint begins to deform. The patient develops a barely noticeable lameness on the affected leg, thus the body tries to physiologically adapt to regular pain during movements. Gradually, there is a limitation in the range of motion of the ankle joint.

When there is a significant narrowing of the joint space, the pain syndrome becomes regular. A change in the shape of the joint is visually noticeable, because of this it is possible to shorten the diseased lower extremity.

The advanced third stage of the ankle joint is characterized by severe crepitus and contracture of the joint. Pain in the ankle joint worries not only during the day but also at night, during sleep. A person can not go without means of rehabilitation (sticks, crutches, walkers), the ability to work is reduced, this stage most often leads to disability.

At any stage of osteoarthritis, an inflammatory process can occur that develops on the inner surface of the articular sac.

The symptoms are:

  • throbbing pain in the area of the sore ankle;
  • swelling of soft tissue in the area of the inflamed bone joint;
  • redness of the skin;
  • local temperature rise.

How to treat arthritis

The orthopedist is responsible for making the diagnosis and prescribing treatment. Medical procedures, other than joint injections and some physiotherapy procedures, are performed on an outpatient basis. Therapeutic procedures are prescribed in a complex and are performed in parallel with each other to increase the effect.

It is impossible to restore damaged tissues and correct the deformation, the main role of the treatment is to stop the disease process and maintain the condition of the composition at the same level, which prevents deterioration. Strict adherence to the doctor's recommendations will ensure the correct effect.


  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used in the form of tablets or ointments for external use. NSAIDs also have an anti-inflammatory effect and an analgesic effect. The dosage and regimen are prescribed by a medical specialist taking into account individual indicators. It is not recommended to take medication from this pharmacological group alone, NSAIDs have many side effects, especially on the gastrointestinal tract.
  2. Chondroprotectors replenish the joint with all the missing chemical elements that stop the destruction process and restore the joint cells. To achieve a stable therapeutic effect, it is necessary to take chondroprotectors for a long time.
  3. Glucocorticoid drugs are used for developed inflammation. Hormonal drugs act on acute pain, allergic reactions, foci of inflammation. It can be administered intramuscularly or directly in the diseased joint blockade.

Engine condition

Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint forces you to change your entire lifestyle. Motor activity should be dosed. It is forbidden to overload the joint with long walks, intense physical exercises and carrying weights. Active movements should be alternated with rest, prolonged static load is prohibited.

It is helpful to wear proper orthopedic or anatomical footwear to prevent deterioration of the ankle joint. To achieve the effect of depreciation, orthopedic insoles are used daily.

Preventive orthopedic bandages protect the joint from excessive strain, have a local compression and micromassage effect. If injuries have occurred before, or osteoarthritis is in a severe stage, orthoses with metal inserts that securely fix the joint will be the preferred priority.

diet therapy

The principles of proper nutrition should underlie the diet of a person with articular disease.

From the menu should be excluded:

  • fatty meat and fish broth;
  • smoked and sausage products;
  • canned food and semi-finished products;
  • sugar and confectionery;
  • sweetened carbonated beverages and coffee;
  • alcohol;
  • mayonnaise and sour cream with high fat content.

You need to eat in small portions to monitor the weight and prevent the occurrence of extra pounds. These measures will ensure the prevention of further strain on the joints and the supply of the necessary substances to nourish the cells of the joint in sufficient quantities.


Physical exercise for therapeutic purposes should be present when the joint is destructured. The training therapy complex consists of a specialist - a physiotherapy instructor. With the correct execution technique and therapeutically dosed load in the area of the affected ankle, the blood circulation is improved, the muscle tissue tone is increased and the range of motion is increased.

In order for classes to provide benefits only, it is necessary to remember when it is impossible to participate in physiotherapy exercises:

  • acute period accompanied by inflammation;
  • the appearance of pain during training in the ankle;
  • movements, the number of repetitions and range of motion must be carefully agreed with the doctor.

To achieve good results, you need to be patient. Regular exercise will evenly bring the ankle joints into good shape.

Physiotherapy procedures

  1. Electrophoresis is prescribed for the introduction of drugs into the patient's body using electric current.
  2. Exposure to pulsating magnetic current is performed in the course of twenty procedures, then a pause is made for two months. Throughout the period of non-use of the magnet, the cumulative effect of the completed course remains.
  3. Infrared radiation is assigned to a sore leg, which will provide a lasting anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.
chamomile decoction for osteoarthritis of the ankle

Folk remedies

The use of alternative medicine recipes from available natural ingredients can be used for patients with osteoarthritis.

  1. It is useful to apply crushed garlic with vegetable oil on the diseased joint for 8 hours and distribute it in a thin layer. Herbal anti-inflammatory drug will help relieve pain and relieve inflammation.
  2. Raw potatoes are grated and applied as compresses, placed on the ankle. The tool will relieve swelling and reduce joint pain.
  3. Dry ingredients of hops and St. John's wort are mixed in a dessert spoon and fifty milliliters of petroleum jelly are added to the resulting mass. The resulting ointment is applied morning and evening on the sore spot.

Surgery for osteoarthritis of the ankle

The last stages of the disease, in which complete blockage of the joint occurs, can not be treated with conservative means. This fact is due to the fact that the deformation developed is irreversible. In this case, osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is treated only with the help of a surgical operation.

The therapy is based on the replacement of a worn joint with an artificial prosthesis, which will allow a person to maintain independent movement and vitality. A replacement joint will last more than ten years, depending on the quality of the material it is made of.

Preventive actions

It is always easier to prevent a disease than to treat it later. An active lifestyle without bad habits is the key to shared health. Keeping at the optimal weight at any age is useful not only for a beautiful appearance but also to rid the body of an unwanted load on all organs and systems.

Great emphasis must be placed on shoes:

  • models must have the correct anatomical shape;
  • made of natural materials;
  • the use of orthopedic insoles will ensure the correct distribution of the load on the lower extremities;
  • size and fullness should correspond to the foot;
  • shoes must be in season to prevent hypothermia, which adversely affects the joints.

At the first sign of discomfort in the ankle joint or pain on movement, it is necessary to consult a doctor for an early diagnosis. A pathology noticed in time is easily treated, which will avoid severe development and maintain a beautiful gait until old age.