Millions of people suffer from arthritis, which is painful inflammation and swelling that can occur in any joint in the body. Within the joint, arthritis is most commonly felt when the cartilage cushion wears down, leaving bone to rub against bone. Arthritis can also occur when soft tissue in the joints wears away. No matter what type or where the arthritis is, it can leave you in constant pain. Fortunately, there are some treatments–including physical therapy–that can help relieve the chronic aches and allow you to live a comfortable life.
Types of Ankle Arthritis
There are several types of arthritis that can affect the ankle:
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis and also goes by other names, such as degenerative joint disease and age-related arthritis. This wear-and-tear arthritis generally occurs as you get older and can affect that joint where the ankle and tibia (shin bone) meet.
- Psoriatic arthritis: This type of arthritis can afflict one or more joints, including the ankles and toes.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: RA, as it’s commonly known, is actually an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks joints–usually in the same joint on both sides of the body. This can cause constant pain all over the body and is considered one of the more serious forms of arthritis.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: You may not notice post-traumatic arthritis for years, but it can occur after an injury such as a fracture or dislocation.
Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis
While some other ankle injuries might show similar symptoms, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea whether you have ankle arthritis. Among the symptoms are:
- Pain during movement of the ankle
- Joint tenderness to the touch
- Joint stiffness, swelling, or warmth
- Inability to move, walk on, or put weight on the joint
- More pain and swelling after sitting or sleeping
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, see your physician for an official diagnosis. From there, you’ll have a much clearer path toward treatment.
Treatment for Ankle Arthritis
Types of treatment vary depending on the severity of the arthritis and your pain level. In some cases, prescription anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease swelling; for more serious pain, a steroid injection may calm the condition enough to be comfortable. If the pain is bearable, over-the-counter pain relievers, as well as heat and ice treatment, may suffice. Trying pads, orthotics, or arch supports in your shoes may make a difference when you’re standing or walking. And, of course, physical therapy can be effective at staving off the symptoms of ankle arthritis.
Ankle Arthritis Therapy
The most common course of ankle arthritis physical therapy is stretching the muscles and tendon around the ankle joint and then strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint. This will help improve range of motion and also keep too much stress from being placed on the ankle. At Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we’ve helped hundreds of patients with ankle arthritis and know what it takes to get you on your feet and moving without pain–and to stay that way through preventive stretching, exercising, and lifestyle adjustments. Give us a call at (214) 225-0291 to schedule your initial evaluation so we can get to work. NOW is your time to heal!