The condition in which the accumulation of the fluid takes place in the joint of the ankle is termed as ankle effusion. The presence of this effusion causes swelling and pain, and may lead to serious complications.

Joint effusion can not only affect the ankle, but other joints in the human body. This includes the elbow, hip and knee.

Most commonly, joint effusion and more specifically, ankle joint effusion, are diagnosed with either x-rays and/or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam. In the case of ankle effusion, if an MRI is deemed appropriate, an MRI of the lower extremity without contrast would be the imaging exam ordered by a medical provider.

What are the causes of ankle joint effusion?

The condition in which the accumulation of the fluid takes place in the joint of the ankle is termed as ankle effusion.

Some causes of ankle joint effusion are:

  • Injury or trauma to the joint.
  • A fall that causes the ankle to twist or a blow to the ankle.
  • Inflammation or infection.
  • An overactive immune system.

Common treatments for ankle joint effusion includes anti-inflammatory medication, ice packs and elevating the ankle to a height in which swelling may be reduced. The use of braces or stretching exercises of the ankle will help in preventing the further accumulation of the fluid in the joint. In severe cases, steroid injections may be recommended.

Diagnostic Imaging Services has a strong arsenal of MRI systems to image the ankle, other joints and all areas of the human anatomy. In this case of an MRI of the lower extremity that will image the ankle, the person having the MRI will go into the MRI scanner feet first. Depending upon their height, their upper body most likely will be positioned outside the magnet enclosure.

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