Etiology of Ankle Osteoarthritis

  • Victor Valderrabano
  • Monika Horisberger
  • Iain Russell
  • Hugh Dougall
  • Beat Hintermann
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the distribution rate of etiologies leading to ankle arthritis and to quantify and compare the important clinical and radiologic variables among these etiologic groups. We evaluated data from 390 patients (406 ankles) who consulted our center because of painful end-stage ankle osteoarthritis (OA) by using medical history, physical examination, and radiography. Posttraumatic ankle OA was seen in 78% of the cases (n = 318), secondary arthritis in 13% (n = 52), and primary OA in 9% (n = 36). The average American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) hindfoot score was 38 points (range, 0–74 points), range of motion was 22° (range, 0°−65°), and visual analog scale for pain was 6.8 (range, 2–10). Patients with posttraumatic end-stage ankle OA were younger than patients with primary OA. The average tibiotalar alignment was 88° (range, 51°–116°) and did not differ between the etiologic groups. Our study showed trauma is the main cause of ankle OA and primary OA is rare. In the majority of patients with ankle OA the average tibiotalar alignment is varus regardless of the underlying etiology.

Level of Evidence: Level IV, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


Ankle Sprain Ankle Fracture Osteochondritis Dissecans Tibial Shaft Fracture Total Ankle Arthroplasty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr Tak S. Fung, Statistics/University of Calgary, for verifying the statistical treatment of the data.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Valderrabano
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Monika Horisberger
    • 1
  • Iain Russell
    • 3
  • Hugh Dougall
    • 3
  • Beat Hintermann
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity of Basel, University Hospital of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Human Performance LaboratoryUniversity of Calgary Calgary Canada
  3. 3.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Department of OrthopaedicsCantonal Hospital LiestalLiestalSwitzerland

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