Previous trauma such as a recurrent ankle sprains that cause internal derrangement and cartilage loss often leads to a condition called traumatic arthritis. Of course neglected ankle injuries can cause arthritis.It is also possible  to suffer from arthritis in the ankle as a result of generalized osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even psoriatic arthritis. If you have had advanced inflammation or possibly even a tear of your inner ankle tendon (posterior tibial tendon) you may have developed arthritic changes in your ankle joint. Arthritis involves the inflammation of the ankle joint structure as well as boney overgrowth and narrowing of the joint itself. Please note in the example above that this is a case of post traumatic arthritis. This condition usually causes pain with progressive walking and activities that utilize motion of the joint. Many people experience a lack of adequate range of motion of the joint as well as swelling around the joint. Often times this leads to an inability to bear normal weight on the affected extremity. This may lead to many forms of compensation which can in turn result in increased pain in other areas throughout your body.

IInitial treatment may involve physical therapy, oral anti inflammatories, or possible cortisone injections. If conservative therapy for treatment of ankle arthritis fails to resolve the condition, then often times surgical intervention may be required. The gold standard for treatment of severe ankle problems would involve fusion of the joint. This involves a procedure that stabilizes the joint, prevents further range of motion, usually with the use of internal fixation such as plates or screws. The picture below, on the right, shows an Integra locking plate which provides for excellent stabilization of these joints. This particular procedure often times results in significant reduction of your pain, however, it limits obvious mobility of the joint. Over the last few years a great amount of research and development has led to the creation of new implant devices for arthritic ankles. One such example is the Wright in-bone ankle implant that is demonstrated with radiograph below, on the left.