Post-injury Ankle Osteoarthritis

I broke my ankle in a car accident several years ago. I was 23-years old at the time. Now I'm starting to notice some pain and stiffness in that ankle from time to time. I watched my Grandpa struggle with arthritis in both his ankles for years. Am I destined to have the same fate?

Ankle osteoarthritis (OA) isn't as common as hip or knee OA so there aren't as many studies on this topic to help answer this question. We do know that ankle OA is more common in people who have had a previous history of trauma.

It usually happens younger in life. Having this problem over a longer time period increases the chances of developing arthritis later. Arthritis linked with previous trauma or injury is called posttraumatic OA. If your grandfather had OA from aging, the condition would have been called degenerative OA.

Whether you have traumatic or degenerative OA, the symptoms and disability are similar. Early intervention may make a difference for you. It may be a good idea to see your orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up visit. Maintaining your motion and strength will help you stay active and may reduce your symptoms.

A short course of physiotherapy to evaluate your ankle motion and set you up with a home program may be advised. Avoiding other musculoskeletal problems by staying active and fit will be of great benefit to your overall health and well-being.

Charles L. Saltzman, MD, et al. Impact of Comorbitities on the Measurement of Health in Patients with Ankle Osteoarthritis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. November 2006. Vol. 88-A. No. 11. Pp. 2366-2372.
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