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What causes stiffness and swelling in the ankle joint ?

Jul 2013
User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I was in a car accident 2 years ago several fractures in foot and an Avulsion fracture of Talus And the ankle still swells and has limited movement. I want to know why it is still like this?
Posted Mon, 10 Feb 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 44 minutes later
Brief Answer: Might be due to arthritis. Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX Most possibly, your symptoms of stiffness and swelling in the ankle joint might be due to the development of secondary degenerative arthritis (wear and tear) in ankle joint or the subtalar joint (the joint just beneath the ankle joint) following the foot injury. An xray of the involved ankle joint along with MRI scan will reveal the severity of arthritic changes in the ankle & subtalar joint. Secondary degenerative arthritis is a common sequelae following multiple fractures involving the tarsal joints (joints in the foot). These arthritis changes can be attributed to the damage done to the articular surfaces (joint surfaces) and injury to the ligaments (due to injury), which alter the biomechanics in the foot leading to uneven body weight transmission through the foot, further leading to much more wear and tear in the joints. The swelling in the joints is due to synovial irritation inside an arthritic joint, leading to excessive secretion of synovial fluid. This increased tension in the joint will often cause stiffness with limitation of movement. Hope I have addressed your query. I welcome any more clarification Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes stiffness and swelling in the ankle joint ? 1 hour later
No arthritis shown in MRI 6mths ago. they stated all clear. Also can the wrist had been caused by the accident. regards XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 30 minutes later
Brief Answer: Impaired venous return might be another cause. Detailed Answer: Hi, Nice to hear from you. If no arthritic changes have been demonstrated in the recent MRI films, then I suspect that the other possibility for a persistent swelling in the ankle joint might be due to impaired venous blood return from below upwards (from the foot to the heart). This might have resulted due to damage to the veins in and around the ankle joint during the time of accident resulting in stagnation and pooling of blood. Hope I have justified the query. Happy to help further
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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