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Treating The 3 Main Types Of Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, but the condition can set in for a number of different reasons. Treatment will vary based on your underlying cause of arthritis, so it’s imperative that you seek out a diagnosis in order to understand the root cause. In many instances, arthritis will stem from one of three underlying causes. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at three of the most common types of ankle arthritis.

Three Common Causes Of Ankle Arthritis

Damage to the soft tissues of the ankle joints can develop for a few different reasons. Here’s a look at the three most common causes of ankle arthritis.

  1. Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is the most common form of ankle arthritis, and it describes a natural degeneration or wear-and-tear style of arthritis in the foot. It tends to develop in older individuals who have put a lot of stress on their feet over the course of their life. Even though walking, standing or running may not seem like all that stressful of an action, over the decades all of these microtraumas add up and can cause some slow tissue degeneration. Over the years, the protective cartilage in your ankle joint can wear down, leading to less smooth movement or discomfort when bones rub against each other, which can lead to other problems like bone spurs. Aside from age, being overweight or having a family history of osteoarthritis are the leading risk factors of osteoarthritis onset.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, oftentimes simply referred to as RA, is a chronic type of arthritis that can affect any number of joints in the body, but oftentimes it begins in the ankles or feet. It also tends to develop symmetrically, meaning symptoms often develop in both ankle joints. RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning that it sets in when your immune system begins to mistakenly target its own tissues. Your immune cells end up attacking the synovium covering on the joint, causing it to swell and and eventually leading to damage with the bones and cartilage in the area. Again, this speaks to the importance of determining the underlying cause of arthritis, because arthritis caused by wear and tear will require a completely different course of treatment than one caused by an autoimmune disorder. The exact cause for rheumatoid arthritis is not known, but it tends to be more common in patients with a family history of the condition or those with an immunodeficiency.
  3. Post-Traumatic Arthritis – The third common form of arthritis is post-traumatic arthritis, and as the name implies, it develops as a result of trauma to the ankle joint. Significant injuries, like a dislocation or fracture, can damage the joint surface and lead to the disruption of fluid joint motion. Trauma can also damage the cartilage and cause it to wear down faster than normal, expediting arthritis onset. Statistics show that an injured joint is seven times more likely than an uninjured joint to become arthritic, so it’s important that you work to prevent injuries and rehabilitate an area in the wake of an injury.

No matter your cause of ankle arthritis, we want to alleviate your symptoms and help you maintain your independence. We’ll work to discover the root cause of your arthritis and set you up with an individualized treatment plan to calm symptoms and slow arthritis progression. Arthritis is a common problem, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept the symptoms. Connect with a specialist and reclaim power over your arthritis. For more information, or for help with an issue in your ankles or feet, reach out to Dr. McDonald’s office today at (860) 244-8889.

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