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How is Ankle Osteoarthritis Treated?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many treatments that may be used for ankle osteoarthritis. Some of the most common include weight control, exercise, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. An individual may also use topical pain relievers and inflammation reducers for this condition. Sometimes a doctor may inject steroid medications into the affected joints to reduce inflammation, and therapy may help as well. Surgery is often reserved as a last resort.

One type of ankle osteoarthritis treatment is weight control. Carrying excess weight is one of the factors that contributes to the development of ankle osteoarthritis, as the extra weight put pressure on a person’s joints. Consuming a healthy, low-calorie diet and participating in exercise that does not aggravate the condition many prove helpful.

Medication may also be used as a type of ankle osteoarthritis treatment. For example, a patient may use OTC medications to relieve pain and reduce the joint inflammation that is typical with osteoarthritis. Often, patients take such pain relievers as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. In many cases, these OTC remedies are sufficient for pain relief, but a doctor may prescribe prescription medications when more potent drugs are necessary. Additionally, a doctor may periodically prescribe muscle relaxers for the treatment of ankle osteoarthritis.

Sometimes topical creams, lotions, and gels are used as ankle osteoarthritis treatments. For example, a patient may use an OTC topical pain reliever on his ankle, such as those that contain menthol, capsaicin, methyl salicylate, and salicin. Anti-inflammatory lotions and gels may help as well.

Steroid medications are also used for ankle osteoarthritis treatment. In such a case, the steroid medications are not usually taken by mouth. Instead, doctors inject them into the affected joints. The purpose of this is to reduce the patient’s pain and help him regain a better level of function.

Therapy is often used as a treatment for ankle osteoarthritis as well. This may involve a range of activities aimed at increasing mobility and strengthening the area. Therapists may also provide supportive devices to help relieve stress on the affected joints. Additionally, treatments such as warm soaks may help with this condition.

Surgery may prove helpful as an ankle osteoarthritis treatment as well. Among the most common surgeries are arthroscopic, fusion, and joint replacement. Arthroscopic surgery is often used for the removal of tissue and bone spurs, while fusion surgery may be used for fusing affected bones together. Joint replacement surgery may be used to put an artificial joint in the place of the ankle joint. Surgery is usually reserved for severe case that do not respond well to non-surgical treatments.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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