Arthritis is an inflammation of the tissues that line your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and joint damage.
Types of ankle arthritis
- Osteoarthritis – The natural aging process can wear away at the cartilage between the bones at your ankle joint, causing inflammation and pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This immune system dysfunction attacks and wears away at the cartilage lining between the bones at your ankle joint.
- Post-traumatic arthritis – A form of osteoarthritis that results from an injury to the ankle area. This can develop even years after the original injury.
Ankle Arthritis Care
At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Foot and Ankle Center, you will find the most experienced team of orthopedic ankle arthritis specialists, as well as the most comprehensive care available in the region.
We are the only major hospital in the region equipped to perform total ankle joint replacement, or arthroplasty. In addition to ankle replacement, our team employs a full range of treatment for ankle arthritis from joint preserving arthroscopy to minimally invasive ankle fusion.
Our orthopedic surgeons all have specialized fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery and focus exclusively on treating foot and ankle conditions.
In addition, the Foot and Ankle Center serves as a one-stop-shop for all of your ankle arthritis needs. Services we provide here include:
- Pedorthic and shoe consultants to help you with any supportive devices or special shoes you might need
- Durable medical goods, such as any special canes, braces, or other equipment you need
- Physical therapy
Our friendly and compassionate staff expertly coordinates all of your additional care for you so you save time and avoid the hassle of managing everything yourself.
Our multidisciplinary approach makes it easy for our foot and ankle specialists to work together with any other specialists you need to care for your arthritis. Specialists may include rheumatologists, vascular specialists, or plastic surgeons.
Ankle Arthritis Symptoms
Ankle arthritis symptoms generally include:
- Pain in the ankle joints
- Redness or heat in the area
- Trouble moving the ankle or walking
Ankle Arthritis Diagnosis
The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Georgetown are experts at diagnosing the full range of ankle arthritis problems. Our initial exam generally includes:
- Taking your medical history – This includes asking questions about when your pain began, whether it affects one or both ankles, and when the pain feels most severe. Other questions may be about previous injuries, whether you have other medical problems, and if you take any medications.
- Physical exam – The orthopedist will examine your ankle and watch how you walk to evaluate alignment and strength in your ankles.
- Imaging tests – Your orthopedist may want to examine the bones and joints themselves using x-rays, bone scans, CT scans, or MRI.
Ankle Arthritis Treatment at MedStar Georgetown
Treatment for ankle arthritis usually depends on what specific type of arthritis you have, and how severe it is. The experienced team of orthopedic foot and ankle specialists at MedStar Georgetown’s Foot and Ankle Center will examine you carefully and work with you to develop the most effective treatment plan for you. Our team will recommend any combination of non-surgical and surgical treatment options designed to ease your pain and improve your ability to move and walk. Treatment options aside from surgery may include:
- Medication to ease pain and swelling symptoms
- Supportive shoe materials such as orthotics, arch supports, or specially designed shoes
- Canes or braces
- Physical therapy
Ankle Arthritis Surgery Options
If non-surgical treatment does not improve your condition, you may need surgery. The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Georgetown are experienced in the most advanced and innovative surgical procedures for ankle arthritis treatment.
Surgical procedures we use to treat ankle arthritis include:
- Ankle arthroscopy: In this procedure, your orthopedic surgeons will insert an arthroscope, or thin, flexible tube, into your joints. The arthroscope uses a small camera and lights to beam images of your joints onto a screen for your surgeons to see. The surgeons will then insert specialized instruments through the arthroscope into your joints to repair any damage. Learn more about ankle arthroscopy at MedStar Georgetown.
- Ankle fusion surgery: This procedure fuses two of the ankle bones to remove a problematic joint and minimize pain. Learn more about ankle fusion surgery at MedStar Georgetown.
- Ankle replacement surgery, or arthroplasty: This procedure replaces the damaged joint with a prosthetic or artificial one. Georgetown is the only major hospital in the region equipped to perform total ankle joint replacement. Learn more about ankle replacement surgery at MedStar Georgetown.