Ankle Arthritis Treatment Options in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella

As we use our feet for all sorts of everyday activities like standing, walking and running, the small joints in the foot and ankle allow our feet to move fluently and without pain. These joints support our feet, allowing us to balance, absorb shocks, and more to help us live active lives. As we grow older, the cartilage between the small foot and ankle joints, ligaments, and muscles and tendons can deteriorate causing pain and stiffness.

This pain and stiffness is known as arthritis. If left untreated by a foot and ankle specialist, this nagging pain can grow worse, eventually becoming so excruciating that you can no longer walk even short distances. Severe ankle arthritis can restrict your mobility and limit your quality of life and may require ankle arthritis surgery. With proper treatment from the foot and ankle specialists at East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons, you can slow the development of your ankle arthritis and lead a pain-free, productive life.

Signs & Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

While the signs of symptoms for each type of foot and ankle arthritis can differ slightly, the primary symptoms remain the same. In your consultation appointment with our foot and ankle specialists, we will discuss your ankle arthritis signs and symptoms and determine the severity of your condition and discuss ankle arthritis treatment options with you. While pain is the most common symptom, there are many others, including:

  • Ankle stiffness
  • Instability of the ankle when walking
  • Swelling on or around the ankle
  • Cracking or squeaking sound when flexing the foot or pointing the toes
  • Pain worsens during periods of inactivity

Causes of Ankle Arthritis

The muscles, tendons and ligaments work together with the many joints of the foot and ankle to control motion. This smooth motion makes it possible for a person to walk well. When you get arthritis in the foot or ankle, you develop pain and limited motion so that you cannot walk as well.

From normal wear and tear as you age to an autoimmune disorder, each type of ankle arthritis has a different cause. If you have foot and ankle arthritis, it isn’t likely due to anything that you’ve done in particular. We are all susceptible to the symptoms of arthritis as we continue to use our feet each and every day. However, if foot and ankle arthritis is left untreated, the consequences can become permanent preventing you from being able to walk without pain. The first step to ankle arthritis treatment is recognizing the signs and symptoms and knowing your risk.

Types of Foot & Ankle Arthritis

There are three different types of foot and ankle arthritis, each with different causes and symptoms. No matter which type of ankle arthritis is causing you pain, our podiatrists offer convenient, expert treatment at our locations in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella

  • Osteoarthritis: This type of foot and ankle arthritis is more common for older individuals, typically 50 years and above. It occurs when the cartilage between the foot and ankle joints deteriorates. The cartilage is what enables our bones to smoothly move over each other, creating a pain-free range of motion. As it goes away, pain and stiffness become very present. Osteoarthritis can occur in one foot and not the other. You may hear this type referred to as the “wear and tear” arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis This type of arthritis is actually an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body’s immune system actually attacks its own tissues causing painful inflammation. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium is attacked. The synovium is the soft tissue of the foot and ankle that covers the joints. As it swells, it can invade and damage bone and cartilage, and in some cases the muscles and tendons.
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis: As the name somewhat gives away, this type of arthritis forms as a result of the wearing out of a joint that’s had some kind of physical injury. A physical injury may have caused damage to the cartilage or bone of the joint, and as a result, causing the joint to wear out faster.

How is ankle arthritis diagnosed?

If you begin to experience symptoms you believe could be ankle arthritis, seek treatment from a local podiatrist immediately. When you contact our foot and ankle specialists in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella, we will examine your condition to determine what type of ankle arthritis you are dealing with and the best treatment option for you.

Your foot and ankle specialists will first perform a full medical history and physical examination to determine if there’s any fluid around the joints. Our Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella podiatrists are experienced and trained to treat even the most severe symptoms. Blood tests may also be used during an examination. This enables your doctor to determine the type of arthritis. X-rays and laboratory tests often can confirm the type and extent of the arthritis. Other tests such as a bone scan, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to evaluate your condition.

Ankle Arthritis Treatment Options

Once your foot and ankle specialist confirms you have arthritis, you will be recommended a treatment regimen, which may include:.

  • Steroid medications injected into the joints
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling
  • Heating pads and ice packs
  • Footwear pads like arch and heel supports
  • Canes and braces to relieve the amount of pressure on the joints
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight control

Ankle arthritis treatment options vary from non-surgical treatment that focuses on reducing pain and preventing further damage to your foot and ankle joints to surgery to correct the ankle arthritis.

Proper treatment of foot and ankle arthritis addresses both pain and joint deformity. Pain develops when the joint is injured. Injury to the joint may result from swelling caused by inflammatory arthritis or from the loss of joint surface (cartilage), often caused by trauma. If left untreated, the foot and ankle may eventually become deformed. Begin your ankle arthritis treatment with an evaluation at EVFAS. Our doctors are Iowa’s leading podiatrists, treating and caring for individuals’ foot and ankle needs across the state.

Ankle Arthritis Surgery Options

If your condition requires ankle arthritis surgery, contact our team today. Our surgeons at EVFAS are experienced in reconstruction procedures and lead the industry in state-of-the-art surgical technology. Our reconstructive procedures include arthroscopic ankle surgery, congenital or acquired deformity correction, sports injury related issues, total ankle joint replacement, fusions of the foot or ankle, and other arthritis corrections.

More than one kind of ankle arthritis surgery may be needed for your condition, and will be something your foot and ankle specialist will determine at your evaluation. Ankle arthritis surgery options are determined based on the type and extent of the arthritis you’re dealing with.

Ankle arthritis surgery may mean cleaning the arthritic joint, eliminating the painful motion of the joint, performing a total ankle joint replacement procedure or a combination of all these. After surgery, you will require a period of rehabilitation when your foot might need to be in post-operative boot for a period of time while your recovery is closely monitored by our experts.

Get the Ankle Arthritis Treatment You Deserve at EVFAS

If you’re ready to take control of your health and treat your ankle arthritis once and for all, schedule a consultation with our foot and ankle specialists today. Proper diagnosis and treatment will help to minimize future limitations and allow you to lead a productive, active lifestyle.

When it comes to the health of your adult and pediatric foot and ankle care, look no further than East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons. Call us at 515-282-6067 for Des Moines, 641-423-3367 for Mason City, or 641-416-4051 for Pella. You are also welcome to contact us to schedule an appointment online today.