Ankle Joint Osteoarthritis

Are you looking for information on foot and ankle arthritis and specialists for treatment or surgery? You will find only experienced specialists and clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria on our website. Find out about causes, diagnosis, and therapy or contact our experts.


Doctors and medical centres specialising in Ankle arthritis

Specialists in the Field of Ankle Joint Osteoarthritis

Information About the Field of Ankle Joint Osteoarthritis

What is Ankle Joint Osteoarthritis?

Ankle joint osteoarthritis describes the degenerative disease of the ankle joint's cartilage, which is not inflammatory. In most cases, osteoarthritis is physiologically caused by wear and tear in older age. On the other hand, osteoarthritis in the ankle joint most often develops after (sports) injuries and is not age-related.

Anatomy of the Ankle Joint

"The ankle joint" actually refers to two joints, the upper and lower ankle joint. In the upper ankle joint, bending and extension of the foot takes place, while in the lower ankle joint, tilting to both sides is possible, so-called eversion and inversion. The unique thing about these joints is that they carry the entire body weight and must guarantee certain stability. Simultaneously, their flexibility is essential for normal gait, so a complete stiffening of the joint with ligaments would limit its functionality.

Causes of Osteoarthritis of the Ankle Joint

Ankle joint osteoarthritis can have different causes. In very few cases, it is a normal aging process of the body as it is in hip and knee osteoarthritis , where the condition does not occur until old age.

Osteoarthritis of the Ankle Joint Mostly a Consequence of an Accident

In most cases, it results from an injury to cartilage, bone, and/or ligaments . If the ligaments are injured, the ankle joints' stability can be lost, resulting in an incorrect load. As a result, the cartilage "wears out" more quickly in places where more pressure is applied. The same is valid for congenital foot malpositions, e.g., clubfeet, flat feet, and hollow feet. If the cartilage is injured in an accident, it can lead to incomplete healing so that in places with less cartilage, the bone is loaded during movement, and thus pain occurs.

Symptoms of Ankle Joint Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the stage of the disease. In early stages, osteoarthritis can also remain asymptomatic and therefore remains undetected. Initially, the affected persons feel pain only at the beginning of the movement and during more extended periods of heavy load.

Only in the further course of the disease can permanent and night pain occur. In the final stage, the joint is functionally limited by pain to such an extent that the affected patients have problems doing sports and are also impaired in their everyday lives.

The decline in cartilage can also be seen radiologically in an X-ray. The joint gap becomes smaller, and the bone surfaces show specific signs that indicate that the body is trying to compensate for the increased friction.

How is Osteoarthritis of the Ankle Treated?

The aim of therapy for this disease is to relieve pain and slow down disease progression. According to the WHO scheme, patients are optimally adjusted to the individual activities of the day through adequate pain therapy.

Targeted treatment of the cartilage reduces the damage to the underlying bone, which prevents further pain. A foot surgery to correct defective positions or restore ligament structures can contribute to better foot stability, which can slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Another treatment option is autologous cartilage transplantation , in which the body's cartilage tissue is inserted into the affected, damaged cartilage surfaces of the ankle joint.

If these methods do not allow a suitable therapy of osteoarthritis, the stiffening of the ankle joint or an ankle prosthesis can be used, which replaces the natural joint and allows the original range of motion with painless functionality.

Other Forms of Foot Osteoarthritis

There are other joints in the foot that can be affected by osteoarthritis. The two most common ones are:

  • Tarsal osteoarthritis in the Lisfranc joint between the metatarsus and the tarsus
  • Hallux rigidus in the metatarsophalangeal joint

Like ankle joint osteoarthritis, this is less a symptom of old age than the consequences of injuries or congenital malpositions. The symptoms are similar to those of other types of joint osteoarthritis : in the beginning, the sufferers feel pain mainly in the morning and after prolonged exertion. In the advanced stages, pain is also felt at rest and night.

Which Doctors and Clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria Are Specialized in Ankle Osteoarthritis?

Ankle joint osteoarthritis belongs to the field of orthopedics. The specialists in orthopedics treat diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The orthopedic surgeon is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare of ankle joint osteoarthritis. If a prosthesis is necessary, patients can contact special clinics for specialized surgery and endoprosthesis.

Sources :

Sarikas: Funktionelle Anatomie des Menschen . 9. Auflage. Lehmanns 2010, ISBN 978-3-865-41367-3.

Brossmann et al.: Freyschmidts Köhler/Zimmer – Grenzen des Normalen und Anfänge des Pathologischen in der Radiologie des kindlichen und erwachsenen Skeletts . Thieme 2001, ISBN 978-3-133-62214-1.

·Aumüller et al.: Duale Reihe Anatomie . Thieme 2006, ISBN 978-3-131-36041-0.

Schünke et al. (Hrsg.): Allgemeine Anatomie und Bewegungssystem . 4. Auflage. Thieme 2014, ISBN 978-3-131-39524-5.

Boeck et al.: Prüfungswissen Physikum . Thieme 2009, ISBN 978-3-131-45221-4.

Wolfgang Miehle: Rheumatologie in Praxis und Klinik . Georg Thieme Verlag 2000, ISBN 978-3-137-01102-6.

Furger, Suter: SURF-med Guidelines Medizin der Schweiz . 3. Auflage. Editions D&F 2008, ISBN 3-905-69910-9.

Herold et al.: Innere Medizin . Eigenverlag 2012, ISBN 978-3-981-46602-7.

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