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Ankle Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation in a joint that results from cartilage degeneration causing joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and restricted movement. Arthritis of the foot and ankle joint can occur due to fractures, dislocation, inflammatory disease, or congenital deformity. The foot joints most affected by arthritis are:

  • The joint between the shinbone (tibia) and ankle bone (talus)
  • The three joints of the foot that include the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone.
  • The joint of the great toe and foot bone

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system (the body’s way of fighting infection) attacks its own healthy joints, tissues, and organs. It can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly joints of the hands and feet and usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body (ex. both feet) at the same time and with the same symptoms.


Rheumatoid arthritis is often caused when the genes responsible for the disease are triggered by infection or environmental factors. The body’s defense mechanism produces antibodies against the joint which may lead to rheumatoid arthritis.


Symptoms of ankle rheumatoid arthritis include difficulty climbing stairs and with inclines. With the progress of the disease, even simple standing and walking becomes painful.


The diagnosis of ankle rheumatoid arthritis is made with a medical history, physical examination, and X-rays of the affected joint. CT scan and/or MRI are also performed to make a diagnosis.


Non-surgical treatment options for ankle rheumatoid arthritis include rest, application of ice, medications (anti-inflammatories), injections (steroids), orthotics, or braces to support the joints. Regenerative cell therapy (Biologics) with PRP (platelet rich plasma) may also be recommended.

Surgery may be required if symptoms do not improve with conservative treatments. Ankle joint replacement and ankle fusion are two surgeries for treating ankle rheumatoid arthritis. The surgeon may remove the damaged ankle joint and replaces it with an artificial implant when ankle joint replacement is required. The goal of ankle replacement is to relieve pain and restore normal joint function. Ankle fusion is the procedure of fusing two bones to make one bone, limiting joint motion and reducing pain.

  • Athletic Orthopedics

    Athletic Orthopedics

    Athletic Orthopedics

    Athletic Orthopedics
    & Knee Center
    9180 Katy Freeway
    Suite 200
    Houston, TX 77055





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