Degenerative changes that affect the ankle joint are common due to the force it is placed under during all weight bearing activities. Whenever we jump or run the impact at the ankle can be in the region of ten times our body weight.
To help support the joint there are a series of ligaments and a joint capsule. Early signs of joint degeneration can result in inflammation and an observed enlargement of the joint capsule. Injections of anti-inflammatory’s are beneficial and can often help restore pain free mobility for several months. They do not however restore the joints smooth cartridge surfaces.
It is therefore essential that exercises focus on alignment and strength of the whole lower limb and help establish good functional movement. Footwear is also critical in helping to adsorb impact forces and maintain the joints best health; at least trying to prevent further degeneration.
In extreme cases ankle replacement surgery and ankle fusion will need to considered.