Ankle Arthritis: Care and Treatment Options

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Arthritis is a general term for a wide range of conditions that can affect joints throughout the body and, over time, severely limit mobility, productivity, and independence. Since nearly half of seniors in their 60s and 70s develop arthritis in the foot and/or ankle, understanding the nature of arthritis and treatment options is a big part of making sure we stay as mobile as possible for as long as possible.

Types of Arthritis

Though there are many forms of arthritis, the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis develops from damage to the joint cartilage in a process often associated with the “wear and tear” of normal aging. Those who suffer from this form of arthritis typically experience inflammation, redness, and pain in the affected joint.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (commonly referred to as RA) occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. The result is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the lining of the joints, causes painful swelling, and may even lead to bone erosion and joint deformity.

Treatment of Ankle Arthritis

Though most forms of arthritis can’t be cured, they can be controlled and even brought into remission. For patients with arthritis in the ankle, your physician may recommend therapies that include anti-inflammatory oral medication, steroid injections, weight loss and physical therapy, orthotics, or custom-made shoes or braces. More involved cases may require surgery to clean the joint, remedy the source painful motion, or replace the damaged joint with an artificial one.

The Patient’s Role in Treatment

By seeking treatment as early as possible, patients with ankle arthritis can help control pain and minimize the risk of joint damage. Taking medications on time and as directed, adopting a sensible exercise regimen, and maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce symptoms and keep patients active longer.

If you think you may be suffering from ankle arthritis, discuss your treatment options with the specialists at Steindler Orthopedic Clinic. Call us at (319) 338-3606 to schedule an appointment.