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Foot & Ankle Pain? Learn about the causes and treatment for foot and ankle pain.

Dr. Daniel M. Dean shares the latest health information about advanced foot and ankle care, offering advanced treatment options to help you get back on your feet again.

Osteoarthritis of the Ankle: Symptoms and Treatments
Osteoarthritis of the Ankle: Symptoms and Treatments

May is Arthritis Awareness Month! Let’s take this opportunity to shed light on one of the most common forms of arthritis affecting the ankle: osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by the gradual degeneration of cartilage in the joints, causing symptoms like joint pain, inflammation, and immobility. This degeneration occurs due to normal wear and tear as we age, meaning that many older individuals suffer from osteoarthritis. The ankle is one joint in particular that experiences a lot of wear and tear due to its involvement in our ability to walk, run, and jump.

Let’s discuss some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle joint:

  • Inflammation: Arthritis means joint inflammation, so one of the primary symptoms of osteoarthritis of the ankle is noticeable inflammation and swelling around the ankle.
  • Pain: Pain is another common symptom of osteoarthritis, which can often worsen after long periods of inactivity.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: You may notice a stiffness in your ankle when trying to use it and in some cases, you may not be able to bend or flex your ankle as you once could.
  • Difficulty Walking: Due to a combination of the symptoms listed above, walking on your affected ankle may become more difficult.

While these symptoms can greatly affect your day-to-day life, there are treatment options available to help you manage your ankle osteoarthritis, including:

  • Lifestyle Modifications: In mild cases of osteoarthritis, simple lifestyle changes may help alleviate your symptoms. Depending on your unique circumstances, your physician may recommend a weight loss regimen to take excess stress off your ankle or encourage a switch from high-impact to low-impact exercises.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can work wonders to relieve arthritis pain and lower inflammation. Furthermore, various injectable medications can help relieve pain, increase mobility, and encourage healing in your arthritic ankle joint.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a great way to combat osteoarthritis through targeted ankle exercises. Your physical therapist will work with you to build muscle to support your ankle joint as well as improve mobility and flexibility in your ankle.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgery may be recommended. For ankle osteoarthritis, either a total ankle replacement or ankle fusion will be considered based on your condition and goals.

Given the progressive nature of the disease, it’s imperative to consult with your physician about treatments for ankle osteoarthritis right away. Reach out to Dr. Daniel Dean today for expert foot and ankle orthopedic care!

Dr. Daniel Dean is a board-certified and fellowship-trained foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. He treats all musculoskeletal pathologies of the foot and ankle in adolescent and adult patients. He has specialized training in total ankle arthroplasty, sports injuries, flatfoot, complex fractures, and minimally invasive techniques in bunion correction.

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