Arthritis in any joint is problematic, but when the pain and inflammation strike joints that allow you to move through the world, it takes the issue to a new level. More specifically, if you’re struggling with ankle arthritis, you can be, quite literally, hobbled by the problem.
As podiatrists, one of the primary goals of the team at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle is to preserve pain-free movement. From bunions to arthritis, issues that occur in your feet and ankles can challenge your ability to move without pain. Our mission is to help relieve the discomfort.
To that end, we’re focusing on some great tips for managing ankle arthritis so you can maintain your ability to move freely.
We know that we said that these tips are designed to help you keep moving, but you may have to move in different ways. Ankle arthritis can affect people of all ages. Yes, age can play a role, as studies suggest that 10% of people over the age of 65 have ankle arthritis. Yet, many younger people develop ankle arthritis because of an injury, which can lead to post-traumatic arthritis.
Whatever your age, if you have ankle arthritis, it’s helpful to steer clear of activities that place too much stress on your ankles, such as jumping, running, or activities in which you stop and pivot a good deal. Instead, focus on physical activities that give your ankles a little break, such as cycling or swimming.
One of the best things you can do is to give your feet and ankles a little extra support with custom-designed orthotics. Arthritis is usually progressive, not to mention incurable, so providing support for your ankles can slow the disease.
Going a step beyond custom orthotics, you may want to consider adding an ankle brace. There are plenty of great products, both soft and hard braces, that can give your ankles a little extra support.
You can also double down on this effort by wearing shoes with ankle support, such as high-top sneakers or hiking boots.
Since the arthritis is creating damage inside your ankle joints, it’s imperative to strengthen the supporting muscles. By focusing on these muscles, you can take the pressure off your beleaguered joints.
Some great ankle exercises include:
A great way to boost these efforts is to place an exercise band around the bottom of your foot and move your foot forward, back, to the side, etc., while creating resistance with the band.
When you have ankle arthritis, some days can be worse than others. It’s essential to realize when your ankles are having a tough time and to respond accordingly — namely give them a rest. You can also try over-the-counter creams that help with the soreness, as well as ice packs to reduce inflammation. Responding to the pain immediately can improve the chances that your ankle will feel better the following day.
For a more personalized plan for managing your ankle arthritis, contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, Hendersonville, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to schedule a consultation.