Ankle Arthritis2020-08-03T11:15:18+01:00

Ankle Arthritis

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Ankle Arthritis

Foot & Ankle Surgeon

What is ankle arthritis?

Ankle arthritis develops when the ankle joint has damaged or worn out cartilage. The symptoms of ankle arthritis are pain, swelling and stiffness. Usually symptoms develop gradually overtime.

What causes ankle arthritis?

There are several causes of ankle arthritis. The ankle is predisposed to developing post-traumatic arthritis following an ankle fracture or severe ankle sprain. Osteoarthritis of the ankle can develop even in the absence of an injury, with no definitive cause. The ankle joint can be affected in patients with inflammatory arthritis, for example rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. Rarer causes of ankle arthritis include bleeding disorders such as haemophilia or a previous ankle infection.

What are the available treatments for ankle arthritis?

In the first instance simple treatment measures are recommended to try and reduce your symptoms. These can have significant benefit and help avoid having surgery. Some of the treatments for ankle arthritis are listed below, but it is not exhaustive.

Weight loss if you are overweight can be extremely effective to lessen further joint damage and reduce ankle pain.

Appropriate footwear consisting of a supportive lace up ankle boot with a cushioned sole should be tried. Alternatively, an ankle brace can be useful to support the ankle.

Physiotherapy may be beneficial in the early stages of the condition.

Simple painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory gels can reduce pain. Ask advice from your doctor or pharmacist before taking anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) as they can have side-effects in some people.

Pre-scribed medications by a rheumatologist are generally required for patients with inflammatory arthritis, which can include disease modifying anti-rheumatoid drugs (DMARDs), steroids and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

Steroid injections into the ankle joint, although are more invasive, can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgery for ankle arthritis is only an option as a last resort, once all simple treatment measures have been exhausted and if your symptoms remain significant. Surgical options for ankle arthritis include ankle arthroscopy, ankle fusion or ankle replacement.

Is an ankle arthroscopy beneficial for ankle arthritis?

Arthroscopic (“Keyhole”) surgery is an option to clean out the joint by removing loose cartilage, inflamed synovial tissue and bone spurs. The operation can be successful in the early stages of the ankle arthritis, when pain is due to contact between bone spurs and that has not yet caused significant joint space narrowing.

Patients can have pain relief for an unspecified period of time and their ankle stiffness improved. However, in some cases by removing the bony spurs to increase ankle movement, it causes the arthritic joint to deteriorate more rapidly.

Can I have an ankle replacement?

Some arthritic ankle joints can be treated by replacing the ankle joint, similar to a hip or knee replacement. However it is not be suitable if you are young (usually under 55 years old), you are very active or have a manual job, you have a severe foot or ankle deformity, your ankle is unstable, you are overweight or if you have had a previous infection in the ankle. Here, an ankle fusion would be advised if you wanted to proceed with definitive surgery. It is not possible to change an ankle fusion to an ankle replacement at a later date. The ankle becomes too stiff for an ankle replacement to work.

What does an ankle fusion entail?

An ankle fusion is an operation to provide a pain-free and permanently stiff ankle joint. It is a well-established surgical treatment and has been proven to be effective. The operation involves removing the damaged cartilage of the ankle joint. Then the two main bones of the ankle joint (tibia and talus) are placed in the correct position and are rigidly held together using metal screws. This allows natural bone healing to fuse your ankle joint.

Wellbeing Advice

Patients that have a healthy diet, take regular exercise and refrain from smoking are more likely to experience a quicker recovery with a more successful outcome from their surgery.

If you have any concerns about your general health and well-being (diet, exercise, smoking cessation) you are encouraged to discuss this with your GP, who will be able to provide advice on the options available to you.

We hope this leaflet has answered any questions you might have. If you have any further queries, please feel free to discuss them with any of the medical or nursing staff.

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Our Aim

Our aim is to help eliminate your pain and allow you to get back to the things you want to do, as quickly as possible. Experienced in the latest advances in surgery and rehabilitation, we want to get you back on your feet and help them last a lifetime.

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Meet Our Team

Mercury Foot & Ankle Surgeon Intro Video
Mr Arul Ramasamy

Consultant Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon
PhD, FRCS(Tr&Orth), DipSportsMed, MFSEM, MA(Cantab)

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Mercury Foot & Ankle Surgeon Intro Video
Mr Joel Humphrey

Consultant Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon
BSc(Hons), MBBS, MSc(SportsMed), FRCS(Tr&Orth)

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Foot & Ankle Surgeon

My condition had deteriorated to the point that I was unable to walk for extended periods of time without pain and swelling of the ankle, and I would rarely be able to join in most family activities. The support and guidance provided by Mr Ramasamy were exemplary and enabled me to make a fully informed decision regarding the options available to me. Now, the pain is much more manageable and the stability that the treatment has provided is such that I feel that I regained a significant part of my life and as such my confidence.

Private Client

I found Mr Ramasamy extremely professional and reassuring. On the day of my procedure I received the most efficient, organised and professional care in my life. Your nurses were the best I have ever experienced. Mr Ramasamy’s team, in theatre made me feel at ease and made the whole procedure more bearable. They go way beyond the extra mile for their patients.

Private Client

I wanted to share my excellent experiences and compliment Mr Ramasamy and his team. I found him extremely professional and reassured that he understood how much pain I was in. On the day of my procedure, it was the most efficient, organized and professional care I have ever received – from checking into reception to being allocated a bay and taken into theatre – your nurses in the recovery area were the best I have ever received. Mr Ramasay’s team, especially in theatre, made me feel at ease, kept me informed throughout the whole procedure and made the whole procedure more bearable.

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Health care is the diagnosis, treatment,and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical impairments in human beings.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Foot & Ankle Surgeon
What is the process if I am paying for my own treatment?2020-08-27T13:58:16+01:00

After your appointment you will be emailed an invoice to be paid within 30 days via a bank transfer.

Will my insurance cover me?2020-06-28T13:37:20+01:00

Our practice is covered by the major healthcare insurance providers. If you have private medical insurance, please contact your insurer to confirm that you are covered for your consultation and imaging appointments and whether you will need a GP referral. Please do this prior to seeing your Consultant. Your insurance company will provide you with an authorisation code which we will need when booking your appointment, along with your policy or membership details. All of this information can be obtained from your insurance company.

Depending on your specific insurance policy you may liable for some of the costs and there may be certain outpatient treatments such as joint injections and blood tests that may not be fully covered by your insurance policy. Please note, even if you are privately insured, you are entirely responsible for all of your consultants’ fees and that the contract you undertake is with your consultant and not your insurance company.

Foot & Ankle Surgeon
Foot & Ankle Surgeon
Foot & Ankle Surgeon
Foot & Ankle Surgeon
Foot & Ankle Surgeon
How much does it cost?2023-03-17T15:24:59+00:00

In most cases, your outpatient costs should be covered by your insurance company, but please check as this can vary depending on your individual insurance and excess policy. If you are a self-pay, new appointments are £250 and follow up appointments are £175.

Do I need a new or follow-up appointment?2020-06-23T15:52:11+01:00

If you have not seen the Consultant previously for this problem, you have a different problem or if it is more than 1 year since your last appointment then please book a new appointment.

Do I need a referral letter?2023-03-17T15:35:57+00:00

If you are claiming through your health insurance, they may require a referral from your GP or therapist before authorising your consultation and treatment. If you are unsure then please call 01908 014 486 or email us on and one our team will be able to assist you. If you are paying for treatment yourself then you do not need a referral letter.

How do I make an appointment?2023-03-17T15:24:20+00:00

To arrange an appointment with one of our Consultants, please call 01908 014 486 or email us on

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Foot & Ankle Surgeon

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