What is ankle arthritis?
Most cases of ankle arthritis are secondary to injury, for example, occurring years after an ankle fracture or even several severe sprains. It can also be caused by inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout which can lead to damage and destruction of joints. In some cases of ankle osteoarthritis there is no known cause (other than genetic) and it is known as primary osteoarthritis. In this situation, other joints may be affected such as your hands, knees, or hips, and there may be a family history of similar issues.
Your foot will still move, even with a stiff ankle. Our feet are made up of 26 bones and more than 33 joints, so even when the ankle joint is stiff, the other joints can compensate, allowing much of the movement to be retained. The ankle joint is often thought of as a hinge joint allowing upwards and downwards motion. In addition, movement takes place in the joints close to the ankle. The joint below the ankle (the subtalar joint) is responsible for side-to-side movements, such as walking on uneven surfaces. The joint in front of the ankle (talonavicular joint) is involved in the twisting movements of the arch of your foot, which occur when walking, especially on uneven surfaces.