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Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)

When the bone cartilage wears away due to arthritis, most common in those over the age of 40. DJD causes pain, tenderness and stiffness in the joint.

What is it?

The bones of any joint in the body are covered with a hard, slick surface called articular cartilage, which enables smooth movement of the joint. The cartilage can become damaged as a result of the degenerative disease of osteoarthritis. Damaged cartilage can lead to misaligned bones in the joint, inhibited movement, and pain when the bone surfaces catch and drag on each other.

Without the protective layer of cartilage, the damaged bones often form protrusions called bone spurs, which can cause further problems with movement and pain due to impingement of the tissue surrounding the bones.

DJD or osteaoarthritis usually occurs in people over the age of 40.

How does it feel?

Pain and tenderness in the joint that worsens with activity; stiffness after long periods of inactivity; discomfort following a change in the weather; loss of flexibility and movement in the joint; swelling and tenderness around the ankle; creaking and cracking sounds in the joint.


The surgeon will use an MRI scan to look at the damage to the cartilage, and an x-ray to ascertain the damage to the bone.


If the ankle bones have bone spurs on them, the surgeon will use arthroscopy to remove the outcrops of bones. Any pieces of bone and broken cartilage are vacuumed out of the joint, while rough surfaces are smoothed over using a tiny shaving device. The latter process can help to stimulate the growth of a type of bone that mimics cartilage (real cartilage cannot be re-grown), which hopefully reduces the wear and tear on the joint in the future.


You will need to rest and ice your ankle for 48 hours after surgery, and have a short post operative physiotherapy programme. You will normally see up to 80% good or excellent results.

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