One of the most common causes of ankle pain is arthritis in the foot. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce your painful symptoms, such as wearing supportive shoes, doing low-impact exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. At Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC and Victoria, BC, we can diagnose your condition and help you find the right kind of medication. We can also perform surgery if necessary.

8 Things You Can Do to Relieve Arthritic Ankle Pain

1. Wear Supportive Shoes

Arthritis in the ankle is caused by genetic factors and wear and tear, which is why athletes and people over 50 often suffer from it. However, some studies have shown that wearing stilettos and other unsupportive shoes can also contribute to the development of this condition. If you’ve started noticing pain in your ankles, consider changing your shoes. 

The best footwear for people with a degenerative joint condition is fitted to their feet, so it supports them optimally but doesn’t pinch or compress any tissues. If you have severe pain or you’re worried about your arthritis becoming worse, consider getting custom-made shoes or inserts that are tailored to your feet. Pads or arch supports could also be helpful.

2. Change Your Movement Patterns and Take Care of Your Feet When Resting 

Sometimes, the types of activities you participate in contribute to your symptoms. People with moderate to severe arthritis often experience pain, swelling, and stiffness after doing a lot of weight-bearing exercise, for example playing sports or going for a run. To protect your ankles, consider participating in lower-impact activities such as swimming, water aerobics, cycling, walking, and Yoga or Pilates. 

After exercising, you can ice your feet or use hot packs, which can increase the blood flow to your tissues and therefore speed up healing. Some patients also find that soaking their feet in lukewarm water can help them recover faster. If you’re in a lot of pain when you walk, consider using a cane or a brace for support.

3. Visit a Physical Therapist or a Massage Therapist 

Sometimes, arthritis in the ankle is made worse by bad posture. For example, you might be placing too much weight on a certain area of your ankle, or your feet might not be properly aligned with your knees. In this case, working with a physical therapist could be helpful. They will analyze your posture and gait, then physically manipulate you or give you exercises that can strengthen weak muscle groups. 

People who feel a lot of pain due to their arthritis often tense up when they walk. As a result, they might experience additional pain, and they find it hard to maintain good posture. Getting a sports massage helps with this because the therapist will release the tension in your muscles and allow them to move freely again.

4. Get Regular Evaluations at the Victoria, BC or Kelowna, BC Clinic 

Unless you’ve been evaluated by a professional, you can’t know for sure that the condition you’re suffering from is arthritis in the foot. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can also be caused by a range of other issues. If you’ve been in pain for more than two weeks or you’re having trouble completing your daily activities because of your symptoms, reach out to a foot specialist. 

They will manually examine your ankles and then do some imaging studies, such as x-rays or MRIs, to check whether you’re suffering from arthritis. Once you’ve been diagnosed, it will be easier for you to take the appropriate measures. Come to the clinic at least once every six months, so your doctor can monitor your condition and prescribe you the right treatment if necessary.

5. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medications 

When your pain gets too much, you can take over-the-counter pain relief pills or anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. Keep in mind that these can thin the blood, so they aren’t compatible with certain invasive and minimally invasive treatments. If you take other kinds of medications, speak to your foot doctor about which painkillers are suitable for you.

People who have advanced arthritis might need something stronger, so they can get prescription medication. However, many types of drugs aren’t meant to be consumed on a regular basis. If your ankle pain is so bad that you have to take medication every day, you might need to get an injection or to have surgery.

6. Get an Injection 

Doctors use several types of injections to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. The steroid shot is a common solution because it can reduce inflammation for many months at a time. It is made up of a man-made form of a hormone that relieves pain and makes it easier for the patient to move. This treatment can be administered to most patients, but tell your doctor if you have an underlying condition, an infection, or any allergies. 

Another option popular with people who have chronic pain is the nerve block. As the name suggests, this shot is designed to block the nerve signal that transmits pain. It’s important to remember that injections are a temporary solution, and as long as the arthritis itself isn’t addressed, you’ll have to come back to the Victoria, BC or Kelowna, BC clinic every few months.

7. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle and Lose Weight 

People with arthritis are often tempted to stop exercising and rest their feet at all times to prevent pain. But this is problematic because the body needs movement, and a lack of exercise can cause weight gain. Speak to your doctor about low-impact forms of exercise that could help you remain mobile without making your condition worse. 

Being overweight or obese speeds up arthritis and makes the symptoms worse because your ankles have to bear more weight. For this reason, eating a good diet is crucial for arthritis patients. If you’re not sure how to come up with a healthy meal plan, contact a nutritionist or dietitian. They can help you put together tasty, nutritious meals that give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs and don’t put you at risk of weight gain.

8. Have Surgery for Arthritis in the Foot 

Sometimes, noninvasive and minimally invasive methods aren’t enough to treat arthritis. Once all the cartilage is worn down and your bones are rubbing against each other, you might need surgery. There are two main types. Arthrodesis involves fusing two or more bones together with screws, pins, rods, or plates. While this means you won’t have movement in your joint anymore, you’ll be able to put weight on your leg again because you won’t be in pain.

The second type is joint replacement, which means that your entire joint will be replaced by an artificial one, either made of metal or plastic. While this is mostly used in severe cases, it can be a good option for people who would like to retain their range of motion.

Ankle pain is often caused by arthritis in the foot. Some of the best ways to ease the symptoms include gentle exercise, wearing supportive footwork, losing weight, and icing your feet. Contact us at Island Foot Clinics and book an appointment in Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC. We can diagnose your condition, help you find good medication, and determine whether you need to have surgery.