Synovitis Doesn’t Stop Deron Williams from Slam Dunking

In the middle of the NBA’s season, Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets was recently suffering from an injury that has sometimes been termed “footballer’s ankle”. Unfortunately for Devon, the condition formally known as ankle synovitis can affect athletes in all sports, not just football. Any activity that results in an ankle sprain increases the likelihood of chronic lateral ankle pain developing. Ankle synovitis is one of the causes of such chronic pain.

It has been found that up to 50% of basketball players who have suffered an ankle sprain continue to experience residual symptoms after the initial problems of the sprain resolve. The lateral ankle ligaments that connect the foot bone to the leg bones known as the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments may become stretched and inflamed when an individual rolls their ankle. If a serious enough ankle sprain occurs, swelling and bruising may develop. Individuals should contact their podiatrist to rule out ankle fracture or serious soft tissue damage. Early treatment is critical in the treatment of ankle conditions to halt their progression to chronic pain. Following injury of the lateral ankle ligaments, excess abnormal motion occurs at the ankle joint that results in inflammation of the joint capsule, or synovium. The synovium becomes thickened and impinges on the normal joint space of the ankle. Due to this limitation in joint space, pain occurs and a clicking sound may be heard during ankle motion. Over time, bony spurs, or osteophytes may even develop on the ankle and further limit joint motion.

Radiographs, or x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging may be needed to fully evaluate bone and soft tissue damage of the ankle before a treatment plan can be developed with your podiatrist. Injections may be very helpful for temporary pain relief, as Deron has discovered. After receiving several corticosteroid injections he has luckily been able to return to game play this week! Surgery may become necessary if conservative treatments do not relieve ankle pain following an injury in three to six months. Depending on the condition of the ankle joint, the joint may need to be opened and excess inflamed tissue removed to restore normal ankle anatomy. The technique of arthroscopy may also be used in some cases where a very small incision is made to clean out the joint. Ankle arthroscopy has been shown to have a much shorter recovery period in cases where it is appropriate.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

If you would like to be seen by our podiatrists in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-859-3338 (FEET) for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia