Ankle arthritis is an inflammation of the ankle area that can cause various troubling symptoms such as stiffness, pain, and swelling. These symptoms can be further aggravated by regular activities such as standing and walking, and in many cases patients suffering from ankle arthritis may walk with a limp. If this condition is left untreated, the pain can become so debilitating that it can be difficult to do any activity that requires standing or walking, even for short periods of time.
Treatment Options for Ankle Arthritis Complications
A podiatrist can thoroughly assess your ankle area using several different techniques including physical examination, laboratory tests, X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scan, or computed tomography (a.k.a. CT scan). Once your podiatrist has confirmed the type and extent of your arthritis, they can recommend a variety of treatment options including:
- Anti-inflammatory medications – These are medicines that you can take to help reduce the inflammation or swelling associated with arthritis. Most anti-inflammatory drugs are available in different forms including liquids, tablets, or injections.
- Physical therapy – This treatment focuses on developing a specific set of exercises that can improve flexibility, mobility, coordination, balance, and strength in order to achieve optimal leg and ankle function.
- Orthotics – Many arthritis patients use helpful orthotic devices such as shoe inserts or customized braces in order to lessen or alleviate arthritis symptoms.
- Surgery – In more severe arthritis cases, surgery may be required. Surgery treatment options include:
- Ankle arthroscopy – Removing bone debris or pieces of cartilage that are interfering with ankle joint function
- Ankle fusion – Surgically removing joint surfaces that are affected by arthritis, and then fusing the bones together using plates and screws
- Ankle replacement – Removing and replacing the arthritic ankle joint with an artificial joint
No matter which type of arthritis treatment you may require, it is important to visit a qualified podiatrist who can help you navigate through the many different treatment choices that are available. With the help of a qualified professional, you can arrive at a treatment option that will be an ideal fit for your particular situation.