Degenerative disease of the crurotalar joint (ankle joint)
Only 1 % of all the cases of degenerative changes of the joints (osteoarthritis) refers to the osteoarthritis of the ankle.
Degenerative changes can affect both:
- the upper
- the lower ankle joint.
Who does it affect?
The vast majority of cases of the ankle joint osteoarthritis is of secondary character and it is usually associated with a history of trauma which causes damage to the articular cartilage. Only about 7% of cases of the degenerative changes of the ankle joint are considered to have the primary background. This primary form of a disease mainly occurs among the elderly. More and more often, it is also diagnosed in people under 40 years of age.
What cause degenerative changes in the ankle joint?
The development of degenerative changes of the ankle joint may depend on:
- a history of trauma
- accumulates microtraumas
- the rheumatic diseases, in the course of which, after resolution of the inflammatory process , the joint damage and impairment of its function
- the diseases affecting the joints , such as avascular necrosis or osteochondritis dissecans (necrosis of cartilage and bon, resulting in fragmentation)
- the instability causing the excessive and abnormal loading of articular surface
- the feet defects, such as flat foot
- pes cavus (disctinctly hollow sole of the foot)
- heel varus, which also causes abnormal loading of articular surfaces
- the bacterial processes which have degenerative effects on the articular surfaces
The development of degenerative changes in the ankle may be affected by:
- age (older people are more prone to the development of degenerative changes in the ankles),
- sex (these changes are more likely to affect women than men),
- occurrence of excessive weight or obesity,
- limpness of muscles and ligaments of the lower limbs
The Ankle Joint of The Right Foot
The main symptom of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint is, similarly to all other types of osteoarthritis, the pain. However, in this case, this symptom can occur regardless of the presence of inflammatory process , because the load impact on the foot is significantly stronger than in the other joints
The pain of the ankle joint may be accompanied by:
- the pain of the forefoot. It occurs mainly as a result of loading of the joint , and, in the advanced stage, it also occurs during the rest
- the limitation of mobility. This symptom may involve flexion and extension movement, in case when the degenerative process affects the upper ankle , or inversion and eversion motion of the foot, when the disease affects the lower ankle . During the movement the pops and crackles can also occur, which are the evidence of damage to the joint cartilage layer
- the joint instability
- blocking of the joint
- weakness or even the atrophy of the lower leg muscles
- swelling - often at an advanced stage in the area of the foot shank
This disease progresses more slowly than the degenerative process of other joints, because the cartilage within the ankle joint is more resistant.
As in the case of osteoarthritis of other joints, it is very important to keep a few basic principles
First of all, the joints need regular activity, because only thanks to the fact that movement causes changes in pressure inside the join, the cartilage is nourished. Avoiding injuries and overloading the joints is another important aspect which is worth paying attention to. If we have to carry heavy objects or so sports professionally, adequate supplementation and a well-balanced diet will be needed.
A well-balanced diet is one that contains ingredients that build the joints and facilitate recovery after exercise. When choosing a supplement, pay attention to the real content of the ingredients. The main component of synovial fluid is hyaluronic acid, the component that builds cartilage is chondroitin. The combination of these two components in a complex best the completion of the synovial fluid and articular cartilage regeneration.