Ankle Joint: Arthrosis - Arthroscopy & Arthrodesis

Three bones, one joint, a thousand steps a day – your ankle joint copes with a lot. If you are experiencing pain, cartilage wear, known as ankle joint arthrosis, may be responsible.

Overview

Optimum treatment so that you’ll be able to move your foot smoothly again

Thanks to intensive research, we can treat your arthrosis in the ankle joint well. Our specialists at Schoen Clinic offer you the best-possible treatment for improved quality of life based on your individual needs.

Causes & Symptoms

How is the ankle joint constructed?

Your ankle joint sits between your lower leg and your foot. It is divided into the upper and lower ankle joint. The upper ankle joint is made up of three bones: the shin bone, the fibula and the ankle bone. To prevent the bones involved from rubbing painfully against each other with every movement and injuring each other, their contact surface within the joint is covered with a smooth, elastic cartilage layer. If this protective “shock absorber” is lost, your bones get closer to each other, what is known as the joint cavity becomes narrower. People talk about joint wear or arthrosis in the ankle joint.

Diagnostics

Diagnosing ankle joint arthrosis

The first detailed conversation concerning your history, such as previous accidents with bone fractures, unstable ligaments or inflammatory joint disorders, provides our specialists with valuable clues. Based on a precise diagnosis, we offer you the ideal treatment for you.

Treatments

Conservative treatment methods

Ankle joint: Arthrosis treatment without surgery

If the rolling movement of your foot is taken care of by the sole of your shoe, this can significantly reduce your symptoms. Various manufacturers already offer shoes with rounded soles. Alternatively, an orthopaedic shoemaker can fit an orthopaedic sole onto your everyday shoes. Shoes that stabilise the foot, hold the ankle joint and support it from the outside can also provide assistance.

Surgical treatment methods

Arthroscopy

If there are bone spurs on your x-rays, these can be removed using an endoscope (arthroscopy). During an arthroscopy, we insert a small camera into your joint via a small incision and the surgical instruments via a second incision. This enables us to remove even relatively large bone spurs in a tissue-conserving manner. Although it is not possible to completely correct your arthrosis in this way, we achieve a significant reduction in pain and greater freedom of movement.

Cartilage regeneration

For minor cartilage defects, thin membranes are used that are intended to encourage the growth of new cartilage cells. 

Artificial ankle joint (prosthesis)

It is also possible to replace the upper ankle joint with an artificial one in surgery to thus achieve mobility in your ankle joint. Between 85 and 90% of inserted replacements are still intact even after ten years. If loosening should nevertheless occur, the artificial ankle joint can be replaced in many cases. 

Artificial ankylosis of the ankle joint (arthrodesis)

If neither the stated surgical procedures nor an artificial joint are an option, we may stiffen your ankle joint in an operation. This involves removing the destroyed cartilage from the joint and securely screwing your ankle bone onto the shin bone. Both bones will have merged together stably after six to twelve weeks, and you’ll be able to put weight on your foot again with almost no limitations. Artificial ankylosis is therefore only beneficial for younger, active patients. By limiting the reinforcement to the destroyed joint parts, in most cases, a large amount of mobility can be preserved in your hind foot. For a lot of patients, this procedure can be carried out through arthroscopy. And, today, artificial ankylosis is carried out in such a way that changing over to an artificial ankle joint would still be possible at some point in the future.