Arthritis that affects the outside of the ankle can lead to progressive ankle joint pain and stiffness, making it difficult to walk comfortably.
Your ankle joint, medically known as the talocrural joint, consists of the tibia, the fibula and the talus, as illustrated. The ankle joint is a synovial hinge joint, playing an important role in permitting the toes to move from point up (dorsiflexion) to pointing down (plantarflexion). When the cartilage that lines the bones of the ankle breaks down and degenerates, damaging the bones, the ankle can become stiff, painful and restricted in its movement. This is what we refer to as ankle arthritis.
When the arthritic changes are located in the compartment on the outside of the ankle, particularly around the lateral malleolus of the fibula, this is known as lateral ankle arthritis. As ankle arthritis can also affect the integrity of the ligaments that support and stabilise the ankles, lateral ankle arthritis may also lead to damage or weakness of the lateral ankle ligaments: the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcaneofibular ligament, the posterior talofibular ligaments and the lateral talocalcaneal ligaments. Other talocalcaneal ligaments may also be involved.
The symptoms of lateral ankle arthritis depend on the cause and type of arthritis, but may include:
Lateral ankle arthritis can have several causes that may alter the types of symptoms you experience and the progression of the disease. These include:
Having arthritis is a long-term condition, and as such, it requires a long-term focused approach with commitments to a healthier lifestyle, instead of a quick and temporary fix. To support your foot and ankle health, mobility and manage your painful symptoms, you may try:
Here at Matt Raden Podiatry, our trusted and experienced podiatrists listen to the concerns, goals and needs of our patients with lateral ankle arthritis, and utilise a range of evidence-based treatment methods to help you get the best outcome for your ankle symptoms.
Every appointment starts with a comprehensive assessment to uncover the causes of your ankle pain and stiffness, including whether any other factors could be at play, like an ankle impingement that is contributing to the problem. We’ll then create a tailored treatment plan based on the results. While the degenerative changes sustained in lateral ankle arthritis are irreversible, there is a lot that can be done to help reduce your pain, improve your comfort, and optimise your mobility and quality of life. We may use:
If you have lateral ankle arthritis or are experiencing pain and stiffness in your ankle, our team is here to help - and to ensure you have the best experience doing so. We’re proud to go above and beyond for our patients, focusing not only on managing your pain and symptoms, but helping you get the best long-term outcomes.