Arthritis is a condition that causes joint inflammation, swelling, and pain. The condition occurs when the lubricating cartilage in the joint wears away, leaving irregular cartilage and bone to rub against bone causing pain. This condition is common in people over the age of 50, but can start at younger ages. Several diseases can result in arthritis, but trauma and rheumatoid disease are the most common causes in the ankle. Rothman doctors specialize in providing care for patients with osteoarthtritis and rheumatoid arthritis in Philadelphia.
Previous trauma is the single most common cause of ankle arthritis. Such injuries include previous fractures, joint dislocations, or severe ankle sprains, which can occur years before arthritis begins. These injuries can cause permanent damage to joint cartilage surfaces that helps to cushion joints. With time, the damage to cartilage worsens and the joints lose that protective covering. Ultimately, the bones in the joint grind against each other with little or no cartilage left. This causes joint inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Rheumatoid and Inflammatory Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system turns against itself. Rather than working to protect the joints, the body actually produces substances that cause joint inflammation and destruction. RA is a long-term disorder that causes inflammation of multiple joints and surrounding tissue throughout the body. Of those individuals who suffer from RA, nearly 90 percent develop symptoms at the ankle or foot. In most cases, these symptoms initially appear in the toes and then involve the rear portion of the foot and ankle.