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Ankle cartilage injury treatment

Ankle cartilage injury treatment

Love jogging, climbing or hiking? When your ankle is in great physical condition, being active on your feet is a walk in the park. But when ankle pain arises, you can no longer rely on your foot to take the strain. This is often the result of a cartilage injury in the upper ankle joint. If pieces of cartilage become loose in the joint, this can cause the joint to weaken.

Why do we have cartilage?

Your upper ankle joint is made up of three bones: the shin bone, the fibula and the ankle bone. It is stabilised by the surrounding tendons and ligaments. Between your joint bones is a very smooth and elastic layer of joint cartilage. This ensures that your bones do not painfully rub against each other and lets you move around smoothly.

Ankle cartilage injury: symptoms indicating an injury

Even if the pain is only intermittent or is tolerated well, we recommend visiting a consultant to confirm the diagnosis. Symptoms can vary and some cartilage injuries do not cause pain as the cartilage itself doesn’t contain any pain fibres.

With an advanced cartilage injury however, every movement or step will cause pain. Sports are almost certainly out of the question and may result in a feeling of the area around your joint being blocked. This is a sign that pieces of cartilage have come loose from the joint surface and are blocking the joint, like a pebble between two gears.

In cases of ankle pain, swelling, or limitation in movement and reduced endurance, our specialists at Schoen Clinic are here to help.

Ankle cartilage injuries: potential causes

  • Circulatory disorders
  • Joint developmental disorders
  • Trauma due to rolling over on the joint or slipping
  • While localised cartilage injuries predominantly affect younger people, arthritis is typically a disorder in the later stages of life
  • After an accident. Symptoms may be evident, particularly for athletes

Diagnosis: find the exact causes of your symptoms

During an initial consultation, our specialist will ask you targeted questions to uncover initial evidence of a potential cartilage injury. In a subsequent examination, we will assess the shape of your foot, the mobility of your ankle joint, the stability of your ligaments and your sensitivity to pressure. X-rays of your ankle joint will also be taken allowing us to carry out a precise analysis of your bones and the positioning of your joints under stress.

MRI visualises the circulatory system

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of your hind foot is normally required to determine exactly where and how advanced the damage to your cartilage is. Using these images, we can also assess the circulation of the surrounding bone. If we establish that you have severe bone damage, we may additionally carry out computer tomography (CT).