5 Lifestyle Treatments for Ankle Arthritis

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Arthritis — essentially, joint inflammation — isn’t welcome anywhere in your body. No one wants the pain and stiffness that comes with moving an arthritis-affected joint. But when that condition affects your ankles, it can make every movement-based activity hard. Just getting up for a glass of water might feel daunting.

Fortunately, if you’re dealing with ankle arthritis, you have options. In addition to the inflammation-targeting treatments that William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, and our team offer, some lifestyle changes can go a long way toward easing your discomfort. Here at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center in Wexford, Pennsylvania, we can help you create a personalized ankle arthritis treatment plan. Usually, that means blending medication with lifestyle adjustments like: 

#1: Maintaining a healthy weight

More weight means more burden on your joints. And since your ankles have to bear the full weight of your body, every pound counts. In fact, every pound you lose lessens the strain on the joints in the lower half of your body by the equivalent of four pounds. Even losing 5% of your current body weight can bring you a notable measure of arthritis pain relief. 

#2: Adding inserts to your shoes

With custom orthotics, Dr. DeCarbo can help to give your ankles the right blend of support and cushioning as you move throughout your day. Simply adding these inserts into your shoes may help you find a large measure of relief. 

#3: Finding new ways to stay active

While maintaining a healthy weight makes a big difference with ankle arthritis, you shouldn’t necessarily adopt a high-impact workout routine to achieve that goal. Running and other activities that put a lot of pressure on your ankle joints can aggravate the inflammation there, making your discomfort worse. 

Instead, explore low-impact exercise options. Those include cycling, swimming, yoga, hiking, rowing, and more. Even a brisk daily walk can help you stay active without putting excess strain on your ankles. 

#4: Certain stretches and strengthening exercises

Specific stretches help to lubricate your ankle joints and improve their mobility. Similarly, the right strengthening exercises help your body build more support for those joints. 

In fact, Dr. DeCarbo might recommend physical therapy for a while so you can learn the strengthening exercises and stretches that could help to ease your arthritis pain. 

#5: Using a cane or walker

Supporting yourself as you get around takes pressure off the ankle joints. Some people keep a cane or walker handy and only opt to use it when their symptoms are flaring. This way, you can stay as mobile as possible even as you work with Dr. DeCarbo to find lasting ankle arthritis relief. 

These are just a few of the lifestyle changes that can help you experience less discomfort as you move throughout your day. To talk with Dr. DeCarbo about what’s right for your specific ankles and to explore other treatment options to use alongside your lifestyle changes, call our office or book your appointment online.