Ankle arthrosis is a dystrophic degenerative pathological disorder characterized by the gradual destruction of cartilage, adjacent joint and bone structures, as well as ligaments and even muscles, which leads to impaired mobility and even incapacity for the patient. The reason for the development of such a condition could be traumatic injury, in which post-traumatic arthrosis of the ankle joint develops, metabolic disorders in the body or some inflammatory diseases.
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The diagnosis of the pathology is established taking into account the patient's complaints, as well as based on the results of X-ray and ultrasound examinations. It is necessary to treat the disease mainly conservatively and only in severe (neglected) cases surgical intervention is indicated.
The disease has a chronic undulating course, in which periods of exacerbation alternate with periods of calm, but even so, the progression of the pathology, even in the absence of symptoms, continues, therefore, over time, the ankle is completely destroyed if the treatment is not performed. Most of the time, the elderly suffer from osteoarthritis, due to the body's natural metabolic processes, but there are other reasons for the development of osteoarthritis.
In medical practice, there are two types of arthrosis: primary and secondary. Primary develops as an independent pathology for no apparent reason. Secondary is the result of any adverse effects, eg traumatic injuries.
The main causes of the onset of the disease can be the following:
- thyroid disease;
- persistent microtrauma that can occur in people who play sports or regularly walk in high heels;
- rheumatic pathologies;
- traumatic injuries in this area (fracture, dislocation);
- inflammatory processes that develop as a result of diseases such as gout, arthritis;
- Hereditary metabolic disorders that lead to tissue thinning.
Sometimes the disease occurs in children and its causes can be:
- tissue dysplasia;
- congenital anomalies;
- inflammatory joint diseases.
Grades and symptoms
Ankle arthrosis has three degrees of course, which determine the symptoms of the disease. It is important to remember that the disease develops gradually, so joint disturbances will be negligible at first and then more and more pronounced. At the same time, the changes that have emerged are already incorrigible, and the treatment of the pathology at one stage or another will only consist in preventing the progression of the disease.
In the first degree of the disease, the tissue becomes thinner, and this does not happen over the entire surface, but in separate parts - specific islets form.
First-degree disease is characterized by the following symptoms:
- excessive fatigue with prolonged stress on the legs;
- discomfort in the joint area after walking on the heels;
- minor pain that disappears at rest.
An X-ray or ultrasound examination does not reveal any pathological changes in the joint, so at this stage doctors are unable to make the diagnosis.
In the first stage of the disease, it can be treated at home with folk remedies - first, refusing to wear high-heeled shoes, losing weight (if necessary), undergoing physical therapy, and also using some folk methods, which will be discussed below.
With the second degree of the pathological process in areas where tissue has become thinner, the load falls on the underlying bone. Because of this, it grows, forming osteophytes, which damage healthy areas of cartilage tissue located in front of or nearby. The symptoms of the second degree of arthrosis are already more evident, they are:
- pain with less stress that does not go away immediately after stopping;
- the occurrence of night pains that interfere with the quality of sleep;
- limited joint mobility in the morning (it takes a while to work);
- joint response to climate.
In the third degree, deforming arthrosis of the ankle joint develops. During this period, the tissues of the entire joint become thinner, as well as the bone structures, the muscles on one side are stretched and, on the other, they have spasms, trying to keep the joint in the correct position. The third-degree symptoms of a pathology such as deforming arthrosis of the ankle joint are associated with a complete violation of its mobility and severe pain:
- intense pain that does not stop even at rest;
- in the morning hours, the joint requires long-term development, even for minimal movement;
- crushing sensation;
- the need to take pain relievers to relieve pain;
- restriction or even total impairment of mobility in the affected area.
Pathology, such as traumatic arthrosis of the ankle joint, is characterized by some other symptoms:
- swelling and redness in the affected area;
- increase in local temperature;
- crunch or crackle.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A decisive role in the diagnosis of the disease is attributed to the X-ray examination. However, it is important for the physician to listen to the patient's complaints, which may allow him to make an early diagnosis, when radiographic changes are not visible. In severe cases, the patient is referred for ankle computed tomography or MRI.
Treatment of ankle osteoarthritis depends on the stage of the disease. In the initial stage, it is enough to change the way of life and the correct engine regime. Massage and exercise therapy will be helpful at this stage, which will improve blood circulation. If we talk about treatment with folk remedies that can be used at home, then it can reduce pain and alleviate the inflammatory process. These folk remedies that anyone can use at home are:
- rub olive oil on the affected area in the morning;
- the use of burdock leaves in the form of fixations on the painful joint throughout the night;
- prepare a comfrey ointment and rub it into the affected area twice a day;
- take mumiyo in tablet form and rub into the affected joint.
There are other alternative methods of treatment, but it is important to remember that they are not a panacea for the disease and that only their complex use in conjunction with drug therapy, diet, exercise therapy, and correct lifestyle will stop the progression of destruction.
If we are talking about the treatment of arthrosis of the ankle joint with medication, then it consists of the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics. In addition, patients receive chondroprotectors that protect the joint for a long period (at least six months).
To improve nutrition in the affected joint, the use of vascular drugs such as niacin is indicated. Hyaluronic acid therapy is considered effective and, in some cases, a single administration of hormones is required.
It is also necessary to treat the disease in combination with physical therapy methods. Special exercises for arthrosis of the ankle joint are shown, which in each case are selected by a physiotherapist. It is very important that gymnastics with arthrosis of the ankle joint does not cause pain to the patient, but at the same time, the person must feel some discomfort, otherwise the procedure will be ineffective.
Among other physical therapy methods, it is shown:
- laser therapy;
- thermal procedures and some other types of exposure.
Surgical operation for this disease is indicated only in severe cases, when the joint is completely destroyed. Often, patients have joint prostheses, which return the limbs to mobility, but other surgical techniques are also used - the doctor makes the choice taking into account the patient's condition.