Ankle osteoarthritis: Radiological examinations

Ankle: Radiological examinations


X-rays are an essential tool for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis and its medical care.


They are easily interpreted by your doctor. They consist of:


  • Narrowing of joint space located in the pressure area of the main knuckle.
  • The presence of osteophytes that expand the joint contours.
  • Condensation of the subchondral bone (located below the cartilage) in the region of the joint space narrowing.
  • Geodes that are inconsistent and established in the condensation (rounded appearance of areas, grey in the condensation).
  • At an late stage, there is erosion of the subchondral bone located in the pressure zone where the cartilage has disappeared.


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X-rays are used to estimate the deterioration of cartilage and bone caused by osteoarthritis.


However, be aware that there is no real connection between the lesions (described above) observed and clinical signs such as pain or functional impairment.


X-rays of the symptomatic joints are carried out during the first consultation. The frequency for renewing this examination depends on how quickly your osteoarthritis evolves. But it's up to your doctor to determine when they should be done.


This type of osteoarthritis is usually secondary to other diseases or injuries. The comparative images usually do not have a particularity and are generally carried out from the front and in profile for the ankle.


For the other joints of the foot, different views may be requested.


Measurement of joint space narrowing is a good indicator of the level of wear on your cartilage by osteoarthritis.