Ankle arthritis is usually caused by osteoarthritis. This is where the cartilage covering the ends of your bones gradually roughens and becomes thin, and the bone underneath thickens. It can also be caused by damage from other rheumatic conditions, for example if you have rheumatoid arthritis, or if you’ve had a previous injury to the area.
This leads to pain, swelling and occasional deformity of the joint. You may need surgery if your symptoms are severe. There are three surgical options:
Ankle fusion involves removing the damaged ankle joint and fusing your talus bone to your tibia to form a stiff but pain-free ankle.
Triple fusion is the surgical fusion of three joints (the talonavicular, subtalar and calcaneocuboid joints) either as a treatment for arthritis within these joints or as a method of correcting a stiff foot deformity. A combination of plates, screws or staples is often used to do this. It takes 12–14 weeks for the fusion to be complete.
An ankle replacement involves taking out the worn-out ends of your tibia and talus bones and replacing them with artificialends made out of plastic or metal. Unlike an ankle fusion, a replacement allows you to move your joint after surgery.