Ankle Osteoarthritis Symptoms and How to Test for Ankle Osteoarthritis.
Ankle osteoarthritis symptoms are not common unless you have had a previous trauma to the ankle joint. Primary osteoarthritis (no cause for the OA) is rare but for some reason it is quite common to get ankle osteoarthritis symptoms after trauma. Nobody seems to know why this is – after all it is a weight bearing joint like a knee or hip so you would think it would ‘wear out’ like they do.
Different types of arthritis get treated differently so it is really important to get properly diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
If you haven’t already please read What is Osteoarthritis page as this will explain the disease process and what happens when you have osteoarthritis.
The ankle is a two joint complex: the main joint or true ankle joint is between the two lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula) and the talus and allows the foot to move up and down. A second joint, the subtalar joint, is between two foot bones (the talus) and the heel bone (the calcaneus) and this allows side to side movement of the foot.
It is possible to get osteoarthritis in either of these joints but it is more common in the main joint.
Ankle Osteoarthritis Symptoms
The most common of the ankle osteoarthritis symptoms is pain. You usually get local pain felt on the side or across the front of your ankle. It is worse when exercising or being active and decreases or stops when resting. The pain may radiate up into the shin or calf and down into the foot and toes, often as a deep ache.
Almost everyone with ankle osteoarthritis symptoms gets stiffness in the morning or after sitting around for a while, but this will go on moving around. How long this lasts depends on how bad your osteoarthritis is.
You may get what is called ‘crepitus’ which means the ankle grates, crunches or cracks. This can be rather alarming but is often simply gas popping in the fluid around the joint.
Commonly your ankle range of motion may decrease.
You can test this by moving the feet up and then pointing your toes like a ballerina. Both ankles should move equally. If your bad ankle moves less than the good this is a common sign of ankle osteoarthritis in the true ankle joint.
To test the subtalor joint try moving the ankle up and out and then up and in from the ankle joint.