Ankle and Foot Osteoarthritis (OA)

Typical Symptoms

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the ankle/foot can cause localised pain, swelling and stiffness in the ankle or foot with difficulty weight bearing and mobilising. There can be progression to symptoms with a significant impact on function.

Ballerina having pain in ankle

What causes it?

Often attributed to excessive use, this degenerative form of arthritis can be due to a previous injury or an increase in compressive forces from additional weight or repetitive impact on the joint.

How can I help myself?

It is useful to reflect when the symptoms first started and how they progressed. There may be a moment when symptoms first started.

If there is considerable swelling and pain offloading with crutches can help as will following PRICE guidelines. For pain, medication such as anti-inflammatories, can make the symptoms more tolerable.

When to seek help?

If you have tried to resolve the problem without much improvement and if your mobility or function is impaired, it would be good to have your ankle/foot assessed as soon as possible.

What are the treatment options?

Once your clinician assesses you with a thorough history and examination, they may undertake an X-ray to look for degenerative changes. An ultrasound scan help identify more subtle bone degeneration or joint swelling.

For most, rehabilitation with a physiotherapist or podiatrist can improve symptoms, but in some situations where it does not, an ultrasound guided hyaluronic acid or PRP injection may be helpful.

If symptoms are ongoing despite this, a surgical intervention might be needed.

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