As you age, your ankles may develop osteoarthritis from wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis, or arthritis resulting from injuries, such as fractures or frequent sprains.
Your ankle supports a force about five times your body weight when you walk. Normally, the cartilage in the ankle joint cushions the bones so walking is painless. But when this cartilage is destroyed or seriously damaged due to osteoarthritis or a fracture, the pain can be debilitating.
There are several conservative treatments for ankle arthritis. A physical therapy program can help to strengthen the muscles in the ankle and increase its range of motion and flexibility. Assistive devices, such as braces and shoe inserts, can help to relieve pressure on the joint and provide relief.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a common treatment for arthritis, as they reduce swelling and pain. Cortisone injected into the joint also serves the purpose of reducing inflammation and pain.
If conservative treatments are not effective in providing ankle relief, surgical treatment options are also available. Your surgeon will discuss the best procedure to help your individual condition if surgery is necessary.