When pain and stiffness strike your ankle, you may blame it on arthritis or another joint problem. Although joint conditions can cause pain and stiffness in your ankle joints, the real cause of your symptoms may be osteochondritis dissecans. Osteochondritis dissecans develops in injured or traumatized joints. The condition can eventually lead to arthritis in the future. Here's how osteochondritis dissecans forms in your ankle:
What Exactly Is Osteochondritis Dissecans?
The bones in your ankle consist of cartilage and joints. You can injure or damage these tissues if you sprain, twist, or break your ankle. If the cartilage covering the injured joints doesn't heal in a timely fashion or properly, small pieces of it can break or chip off from the joints. The damaged, exposed joints will eventually develop lesions called osteochondritis dissecans.
Osteochondritis dissecans usually occurs in the part of your ankle that bears weight or allows movement. Over time, the lesions can keep you from moving or standing on your ankle. Your ankle may swell and feel stiff, or it may feel as though it's loose or unstable.
You might hear or feel a popping or clicking sound in your ankle when walk or move. Pain is another symptom you can experience with osteochondritis dissecans. The pain can affect you at any time but is usually worse when you try to move or place weight on the injured ankle.
The problems in your ankle won't subside or heal without help. You'll need to see a podiatrist for care.
How Do You Treat Osteochondritis Dissecans?
A podiatrist is a foot and ankle specialist who can take X-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests of your ankle. If the joints and cartilage are injured or scarred with lesions, a podiatrist will see it clearly during the diagnostic tests.
Treatment for osteochondritis dissecans can vary from person to person. However, you may need to wear a brace on your ankle to keep it stable enough to heal properly. If bracing doesn't help your ankle, ankle fusion surgery and tissue grafting may be viable options. The treatments allow a doctor to remove or replace the damaged cartilage in your ankle bones and joints. The treatments can take some time to recover, so a podiatrist may place you in physical therapy to speed up the healing process.
If you want solutions for your ankle problems, contact a podiatrist for additional information on foot injuries or an appointment today.