We're using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you're agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
You are here:

Are there any operations available to realign the ankle joint?

Q) Our son has had Still’s disease intermittently since the age of six. He's currently 27 and the condition is being successfully managed with methotrexate. There's only one problem; he has permanent damage to one joint – his left ankle. My wife and I were wondering if there's any intervention, operation or procedure for re-lining the ankle joint. He has discomfort at the end of a busy day and can walk three to four miles at a stretch.
Mike, Clitheroe (Autumn 2007)

A) There are a number of surgical options available, although resurfacing, such as that available for the hip, isn't one of them. Replacement of the true mortice ankle joint is now possible but the results aren't as impressive as for hip and knee replacement. This will improve in time. If the damage is confined to the lower part of the ankle joint, the sub-talar region, procedures which fuse the joints together are effective and give good pain relief. However, the decision to undergo any joint surgery should be taken together by patient and surgeon. There are risks to any operation and if your son has an exercise tolerance of four miles it might be better to wait until things are worse before proceeding to an operation. Sometimes wearing a support helps and gives a good indication of how successful an operation is going to be.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Autumn 2007 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to

Keep up to date with the latest from Arthritis TodaySign up today.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question

We're now

Versus Arthritis.

You're being taken through to our new website in order to finish your donation.

Thank you for your generosity.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.