Ankle Arthritis Symptoms

Posted on July 13, 2023 in Achilles Tendinitis & Ankle Arthritis by Dr. Erik Nilssen

While stiffness and pain may increase with age, this can also be a classic sign of osteoarthritis. Swelling, pain, and deformity can keep you from normal daily activities if left untreated. Here is more information to help you identify symptoms and understand how it can affect your foot and ankle.


There are numerous forms of arthritis (more than 100), many of which affect the ankle. No matter which type of ankle arthritis an individual has, walking and participating in physical activities can be challenging. At North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists, we frequently treat individuals in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze Fla., who have ankle arthritis.


Arthritis refers to inflammation in one or more joints. Arthritis can occur in any joint, but it is especially common in the small joints located in the foot and the ankle. Unfortunately, arthritis cannot be cured; however, it can be managed. There are a variety of treatment options available at North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists that are specifically designed to relieve the symptoms associated with this condition as well as slow its progression. Many individuals who have arthritis find that they can remain active by managing their pain, which allows them to lead the fulfilling lives they deserve.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and commonly occurs once an individual reaches middle age. Osteoarthritis involves the joint cartilage gradually wearing away. As this occurs, the joint becomes rough and frayed. As the protective space between the bones decreases, the bones begin rubbing against one another. This rubbing can cause painful bone spurs to form. Osteoarthritis gradually develops, resulting in stiffness and pain that becomes worse as time passes.


Symptoms are directly linked to the joint that is affected. In the majority of cases, the joint will be swollen and painful. Usually, this pain develops gradually; however, there have been instances where the pain comes on suddenly.

Other symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Warmth and redness of the joint.
  • If pressure is applied to the joint, it will be tender.
  • Pain caused by vigorous activity.
  • Higher pain levels and increased swelling upon rising in the morning, after resting or sitting.
  • Pain with movement.
  • Pain in the joint when it bears weight.
  • Sticking or grinding sensations when moving the joint.
  • Individuals who have ankle arthritis typically have difficulty performing their daily activities that involve climbing stairs and/or walking. It is not uncommon for them to experience a dull aching in the affected joint(s) even while lying down or sitting in a chair.
  • Difficulty walking because of any symptom listed above.


Individuals who have ankle arthritis also experience Achilles tendonitis more frequently than those who do not. Therefore, when outlining the symptoms of ankle arthritis, the symptoms associated with Achilles tendonitis must also be addressed.

The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Tight muscles in the calf.
  • Swelling and/or discomfort in the back of the heel.
  • The skin on the heel feels extremely warm to the touch.
  • A limited range of motion upon flexing the foot.

The most prominent symptom of Achilles tendonitis is inflammation and pain in the back side of the heel, especially upon running or walking.

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