Medically Reviewed by Dr. Rachel N. Verville

May 4, 2017

Ankle sprain little elmYou sprained your ankle years—even decades ago—but recently, you’ve been experiencing pain and stiffness in that area again. You are positive that it’s not another sprain or injury, but you’re not sure what’s going on. A friend in Frisco mentioned that you might have arthritis caused by your previous ankle sprain, but is that even possible?

Unfortunately, it is indeed possible to develop arthritis in your ankle years after an ankle sprain—even if you did absolutely everything right in treatment and the injury fully healed.

Arthritis is inflammation of the joint, and post-traumatic arthritis is caused by the wearing out of a joint that has been injured at some point. It doesn’t just have to be a sprain, either—any kind of injury to a joint, caused by anything—a car accident, fall, or playing a sport—can damage the cartilage or bone and make the joint wear out more quickly.

Can You Do Anything to Protect Yourself from Ankle Arthritis?

Post-traumatic arthritis is difficult to prevent because once the initial injury happens, you already have that additional risk. There are a few things you can try to do, though:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Carrying around extra weight puts added stress on your ankles, so try to keep your joints as healthy as possible and keep your weight within the “normal” range for your height and age.
  • Be aware of stress on your joints. Do you have a desk job, or does your occupation involve more strenuous, physical work? Individuals with more physically stressful jobs tend to get arthritis much sooner than other people.
  • Do low impact exercise. You don’t want to do any physical activity that puts too much stress on your joints, but low impact exercise will keep you strong and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

Are you feeling discomfort at the site of your former ankle sprain, but you’re not sure if it’s arthritis? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Pain in your joints after movement
  • Tenderness and sensitivity of joints when pressure is applied
  • Stiffness in joints after prolonged inactivity
  • Lack of flexibility in joints
  • Limited range of motion

These symptoms tend to develop slowly over time and then worsen, so if you’re beginning to experience them, don’t wait to visit a foot doctor in Frisco for diagnosis and treatment.

Treating Ankle Arthritis Caused by an Ankle Sprain

Post-traumatic arthritis is generally treated the same way any other type of arthritis would be. Depending on the severity of your condition, your treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercises for mobility and strength
  • Medication to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Recommended rest to allow for healing

Don’t try to self-treat your arthritis, especially when your condition worsens. Visit a podiatrist in Frisco as soon as possible so you can begin your treatment and manage the pain associated with your post-traumatic arthritis.

Contact Dr. Verville at RNV Podiatry in Frisco today to make an appointment by calling (214) 385-8822.