Injuries like ankle fracture and severe sprain may result in ankle arthritis due to gradual loss of cartilage lining a few years after the injury. In some people who are suffering from ankle arthritis, their condition is related to other diseases like diabetes and hemophilia.
There are different tests for diagnosing ankle arthritis. Doctors usually base it on the patient’s report or by looking at the X-ray of the ankle. They sometimes require the patient to undergo MRI or a CT scan.
Nowadays, they can determine the exact location of the loss of cartilage by injecting air and dye inside the ankle. By doing this, specialists can see the cartilage problem in three dimensional pictures less than one millimeter in size.
There are several ways of treating ankle arthritis, such as the following below:
1. Medical Treatment – The main objective in treating ankle arthritis is to reduce the joint inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Naprosen and Vioxx are typically used. These medicines are prescribed by doctors depending on the patient’s allergies, medical history and reaction to the treatment. The doctor may also recommend weight loss along with medication. Specialists have determined that losing weight can reduce stress on the ankle when standing or walking.
2. Orthotic Management – Braces and inserts can help in managing ankle arthritis. Proper selection of these instruments is based on insight location of the cartilage loss, walking and standing mechanics of the patient and other medical issues. An ankle brace can reduce stress on the foot that is affected with arthritis and, sometimes, removes the need for surgery.
3. Physical Therapy – Physical therapy can reduce the symptoms of ankle arthritis by using different techniques that concentrates on the affected ankle. Patient’s can perform flexibility exercises or can also undergo pool and aquatic therapy. This can also keep the patient fit without the risks of further injuries to the joint of the ankle. Therapists can also teach patients how to properly use canes to reduce stress on the ankle.
4. Injections – Injection of steroid to the ankle can improve the inflammation of the joint. However, this treatment is a bit delicate so patients for steroid injection are carefully tested.
5. Ankle Arthritis Surgery – Surgery for ankle arthritis depends on several factors like the following below:
• Cartilage loss location
• The patient’s weight, age and the level of activity
• The patient’s skin, tendons, nerves and bone around the ankle
• Medical history, allergies and reactions to previous treatments
Ankle arthritis can be controlled using different methods and if you are suffering from this ailment, it is best that you consult a specialist to know what treatment is best for you.