Ankle osteoarthritis (OA) can be a very painful condition that can limit your activity level causing a negative impact on your quality of life. Ankle OA occurs when the articular cartilage in the ankle has worn away resulting in bone on bone irritation.
Most often, the OA condition is a result of previous ankle trauma such as ankle sprains or fractures. Although ankle sprains or fractures might fully heal, the trauma can eventually lead to joint deterioration and ultimately OA. Underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can also be debilitating to the ankle joint.
For the most part, ankle osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear on the joint from years of activities that put strain on the ankles. OA does increase with age causing the ankle cartilage to wear thin providing less cushioning between the bones.
Symptoms and Treatment of Ankle Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis include:
- inflammation and swelling around the ankle joint
- ankle pain and stiffness
- pain when standing, walking, or bearing weight
When it comes to treating your ankle osteoarthritis, your doctor may recommend a number of options:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce joint swelling and pain
- Physical therapy to aide in reducing joint inflammation and regaining ankle range of motion.
- The use of an ankle brace to reduce weight bearing pain and help prevent excessive ankle movement that can cause further injury
The Best Ankle Braces for Osteoarthritis Pain
While long term physical therapy can help a patient with their ankle OA, the quickest option to reduce joint irrigation and pain may be the use of an ankle brace.
While most ankle braces are designed to help prevent excessive ankle turning, some ankle braces are also designed to reduce weight bearing pain associated with ankle injuries. For an ankle brace to reduce weight bearing pain it must “unload or offload” the ankle. “Unloading” means the ankle brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking that would normally be transferred to the ankle joint causing irritation and pain.
Our Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace is designed for individuals that have an acute ankle injury and weight bearing pain, but it is also equally effective for OA sufferers who need relief from the bone on bone irritation which is causing their OA. The Ultra CTS works by absorbing a portion of the impact created from standing or walking and then applies that impact “or energy” to the lower leg thus bypassing the sore ankle.
Less impact means less pain and joint irritation.
Since ankle OA is mainly caused by a history of ankle trauma which could include multiple ankle sprains or fractures, it stands to reason the ankle may be unstable which is contributing to the joint wear and tear. The Ultra CTS will stabilize and firm up the lower leg and ankle which will help control unwanted joint movement which causes excessive irritation and pain. Since the Ultra CTS has a hinge, full up and down ankle range of motion is encouraged to help keep the muscles strong and the joint flexible.
With ankle osteoarthritis the goal is to reduce joint irritation so the condition doesn’t worsen. Wearing the Ultra CTS is a great way to reduce or slow down the effects of OA so you can maintain a healthy and mobile lifestyle.
If you have any other questions about ankle braces for your ankle osteoarthritis, leave us a comment below or send one of our certified athletic trainers a message.
Written by Rick Peters
Rick Peters is a Certified Athletic Trainer who has been advancing ankle bracing technology for three decades. Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1985, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989 he was a founder and became President of Active Ankle Systems. In 1998 he co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC to develop the next generation of ankle bracing technology. Peters has 18 ankle brace patents and is considered an authority on ankle bracing technology worldwide.