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Osteoarthritis of the ankle

Osteoarthritis of the ankle can be both a painful and a disabling condition, one that can make walking and other activities difficult. At we understand the importance of mobility, all our treatments, therefore, aim to provide you with as much function at the foot and ankle as possible, with a reduced amount of pain.

What is osteoarthritis of the ankle?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints; the joint affected in osteoarthritis of the ankle is where the talus (the ankle bone) meets the tibia (the larger of the two bones in the lower leg). Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease; this means that over time the condition will get worse.

What causes osteoarthritis of the ankle?

Osteoarthritis of the ankle occurs when the cartilage that sits between the talus and the tibia is broken down, eventually the cartilage is worn completely away and the bone rubs against other bone ' and this causes damage. Typically a person who suffers from osteoarthritis of the ankle will have a history of trauma to the ankle, even if this was many years ago. Other contributing risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis of the ankle include:

  • Being over-weight
  • Poor biomechanics of the foot and ankle
  • Conditions and diseases associated with arthritis

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle?

The signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Reduced range of movement

How is osteoarthritis of the ankle diagnosed?

Osteoarthritis of the ankle is diagnosed based on a history and an examination. An X-ray may be requested to confirm the diagnosis

Benefits of podiatry for osteoarthritis of the ankle

If you have osteoarthritis of the ankle you will experience pain and stiffness at the ankle joint. The pain experienced is caused by inflammation, and the stiffness is due to deterioration of the joint. The benefits of podiatry assessment and treatment for osteoarthritis of the ankle are as follows:

  • Decrease in pain
  • Increase in range of motion
  • Increased ankle strength
  • Increase in foot and ankle function
  • Improved gait
Podiatric benefits for osteoarthritis of the ankle are achieved a number of ways, the treatment option most suitable for you will be discussed with you prior to treatment commencing. Pain is reduced by offloading painful structures and by improving muscle strength and flexibility. By offloading painful structures inflammation is reduced and the joint is given time to heel. Muscle strengthening and stretching exercises are designed to increase the range of movement at the ankle joint, which improves the joints function. The aim of podiatric treatment is to maintain and improve mobility.

What would podiatry for osteoarthritis of the ankle involve?

It is important to understand that osteoarthritis is a progressive condition, and it may not be possible to regain the full function that you once had. At we will use conservative treatments that will aim to improve the function that you do have, which may reduce your need for invasive surgery. Treatment options for osteoarthritis of the ankle may include:

If the above conservative options fail to give any relief then you may be referred for surgery.


Osteoarthritis of the ankle describes a painful, progressive and restrictive joint disease. Osteoarthritis of the ankle is characterised by the wearing down of the cartilage that sits between the ankle bone and the leg.

Our podiatrists here at can help you if you have osteoarthritis of the ankle by providing you with a treatment plan that will aim to reduce any pain that you are experiencing at your ankle, as well as to improve the function of the ankle joint; allowing you to walk and continue with your daily activities more easily.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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