Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ

Question:

I've heard of a frozen shoulder but what's a frozen ankle? My uncle is having surgery for this problem even as I send you this question.

Answer:

Pain, swelling that comes and goes, and loss of motion are common symptoms of a "frozen ankle." Stiffness is also a common feature.

Frozen shoulder or frozen ankle are also referred to as adhesive capsulitis. Literally this means the joint capsule is stuck or glued down. In other words, it's not gliding and sliding as it should. The result is a stuck or "frozen" joint.

The shoulder is the joint most commonly affected by adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder is a diagnosis used for many people with this problem. Frozen ankle is not as common. Most of the time the patient has had a traumatic injury to the ankle leading up to the condition.

The entire capsule is usually involved so that motion is limited in all directions. Walking can be difficult, especially on uneven or sloped surfaces like ramps, curbs, and stairs. Surgery to release the tight capsule can help restore motion and function.

Tun Hing Lui, MBBS (HK), FRCS, et al. The Arthroscopic Management of Frozen Ankle. In The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery. March 2006. Vol. 22. No. 3. Pp. 283-286.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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