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Your ankle is a tough and durable part of your body. But even the toughest body parts can wear out over time or become injured, causing pain and stiffness and affecting the ability to walk. Total ankle replacement is one of several treatments for an ankle joint that has worn out.

What causes arthritis of the ankle?

The bones of your ankle are covered by a perfectly smooth and resilient substance known as cartilage. It is cartilage that allows the ankle joint to move smoothly and painlessly. Arthritis is a disease process in which the cartilage becomes thinner and rougher. When this occurs, joint motion becomes stiff and painful.

Arthritis can occur in any joint in the human body. Arthritis is more likely to occur in joints that have been injured or damaged. Some ankle injuries are severe such as broken ankles that require surgery. Other ankle injuries are less severe, such as sprains, but may cause a problem if they occur over and over. Both of these types of injuries can result in ankle arthritis.

Some people develop arthritis without having had an injury in the past. This “wear and tear” type of arthritis affects the knee and hip more commonly but can also affect the ankle.