Ankle arthritis is a degenerative disease, but with the right treatment the degenerative process can usually be slowed down and pain can be controlled.
Sometimes a small change, such as wearing more supportive footwear, can make a big difference in the long run. The sooner treatment begins, the better the odds of conserving joint integrity and function for years—or even a lifetime—thereby staving off debilitating pain and the possible need for surgery.
Some simple changes in lifestyle, such as changing footwear and exercise habits, can make a big difference in the progression of ankle arthritis.
Certain types of activities and exercise will aggravate the ankle joint. These activities should be avoided and alternatives may be identified. For example, jogging may be replaced with cycling or swimming, which exerts less force on the ankle joint.
While painful ankle osteoarthritis may discourage someone from being physically active, less physical activity is not advisable. In fact, inactivity is harmful, and often leads to other health problems. A health care provider can work with an individual patient to find alternatives or adaptive strategies to perform daily activities that trigger pain.