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Though osteoarthritis is more common in hips and knees, its symptoms are the same when in the ankle. Patients experience pain, inflammation, cartilage damage, and immobility, which can hinder a person’s lifestyle at work, home, and in recreational activities.
Recent research suggests that ankle sprains may predispose patients to osteoarthritis, increasing their likelihood of developing the disease in later years. Studies have found that roughly 18% of participants who had suffered and been treated for an ankle sprain were also suffering from arthritis and experiencing joint instability. Additionally, one particular study found that the average time between an ankle sprain and the development of arthritis is 21 years.
Our skilled team of specialty-trained foot and ankle doctors offers you the following tips for preventing and treating osteoarthritis:
- Maintain a healthy weight to help reduce stress on the ankle
- Wear inserts and braces to help stabilize the foot and take stress off the ankle
- Perform ankle rehabilitation exercises even before injury to build strength and prevent ankle sprains or injuries from taking place
- Take anti-inflammatory medicine after an ankle sprain to provide temporary relief
- Discuss cortisone or steroid injections with your doctor to help reduce inflammation and provide relatively long-term pain relief
- Follow your physical therapy program to help relieve stress and pain and strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Discuss surgical alternatives with your doctor, such as arthroscopy, fusion, and joint replacement, if conservative treatment options have failed to relieve your pain
If you have experienced an ankle sprain or other traumatic ankle injury, schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled and compassionate specialty-trained ankle doctors at EmergeOrtho: Blue Ridge Division by calling (828) 537-4032.