Ankle Arthritis Treatment Options

The term arthritis refers to joint pain or disease.  It causes inflammation that affects the joints of the body. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and it can affect more than one joint in your body. Osteoarthritis is the most common form, and it is caused by the breakdown of cartilage. When this happens, bones in the joint rub against each other causing pain, swelling, and loss of movement. Before moving forward with ankle arthritis treatment, you must first determine what stage of arthritis you are experiencing.

Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis

How does arthritis affect the ankle? As the cartilage in the joint breaks down, the bones rub together causing damage to the joint This process takes years to develop and progresses in four stages:

  • Stage One (Minor): Small lumps grow on the bone, and the damage to the cartilage is minor.
  • Stage Two (Mild): The cartilage begins to wear down slightly, and you may begin to experience pain or stiffness.
  • Stage Three (Moderate): Cartilage loss has occurred, and there may be signs of inflammation.  You will likely experience pain when performing daily activities such as walking or running.
  • Stage Four (Severe): The cartilage loss is causing bone on bone movement in the joint.  You will probably experience much more intense pain.

You should see a doctor for ankle arthritis treatment when the pain becomes unbearable or when it starts to affect your day to day lifestyle.

Non-surgical Options for Ankle Arthritis Treatment

For mild and moderate arthritis you can use these treatments to find relief:image of foot / ankle

  • Use heat and cold on the affected area
  • Be sure to rest when needed
  • Stay active and maintain a healthy weight
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication

Physical and occupational therapy can also be effective methods for ankle arthritis treatment. When these suggestions are no longer working to manage your pain and maintain your lifestyle, it is time to consult a specialist.

Surgical Procedures for Ankle Arthritis Treatment

When you have exhausted your other options, surgery may be needed. Depending on the severity of the damage to your ankle joint, two different procedures are available to help you.  If the damage is minimal, this could be as easy as arthroscopy to clean the joint of any minor tears to the cartilage. On the other hand, if the cartilage has been damaged severely, creating bone on bone contact, a total joint replacement may be your best choice. Dr. Brad Dresher, our foot and ankle orthopedic doctor at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can effectively assess your needs and create the best plan for your ankle arthritis treatment.

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