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Tips And Tricks For Managing Chronic Ankle Arthritis Pain

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You use your ankles with every step you take. They have to support the weight of practically your whole body! For these reasons, dealing with chronic ankle pain due to arthritis can be pretty frustrating. However, there are a few key ways you can help keep the pain to a minimum.

Wear supportive shoes

Your days of wearing heels and flip-flops are over. Wearing supportive footwear at all times will help keep your ankle stable, thereby minimizing your pain. Some people can get away with wearing good-quality sneakers or athletic shoes most of the time. Definitely find a pair with lots of support in the arch, as this helps guard against ankle rolling. You'll probably also want a pair of boots that come up over your ankles. You can wear these when walking on uneven terrain as they do an even better job of stabilizing your ankle. The key is to wear shoes that prevent your ankle from turning, rolling, or moving any more than needed.

Buy some compression socks

You don't have to wear compression socks all of the time, although some people with ankle arthritis certainly do. Just having these socks on-hand so you can put them on when your ankles become overly painful is enough. Compression socks help encourage any pooling blood or lymph to make its way back into circulation. In doing so, they help reduce inflammation in your ankle. Reducing inflammation tends to also reduce pain. Most people feel their ankle pain diminish within about a half-hour once they put compression socks on.


Yes, stretching is boring. But even if you have not properly stretched since high school gym class, there are real benefits to beginning a formal stretching routine now that you've been diagnosed with ankle arthritis. Focus on stretches for your calves and arches. If you're able to keep the muscles in these areas loose and limber, they won't pull on your ankles as much and your arthritis pain will be less prominent. Try to stretch when you wake up in the morning and again before you go to bed. You can throw in some extra mid-day stretches if you start feeling tight.

Use capsaicin cream

NSAIDs and other medications are good at alleviating ankle inflammation and pain, but they can cause side effects, like ulcers, if you use them too often. So, it is a good idea to also keep some capsaicin cream on hand. This cream contains the compound that makes hot peppers hot. It helps relieve arthritis pain in a safe, natural way. You can keep it on-hand when you're at work and out and about, applying it whenever your ankles feel sore. You may still want to use NSAIDs from time to time, but spacing them out and using capsaicin in between can help.

Get leg massages

At first, the idea of getting massages for your ankles might sound a little strange since arthritis is a joint issue, not a muscular one. However, getting periodic massages will help keep your muscles loose, and that will stop the muscles from pulling on your joints and making them achy. Even if you just have your legs massaged and not the rest of your body, this therapy will go a long way. Find a massage therapist who is used to treating arthritis patients, and schedule some regular sessions. 

Ankle arthritis can be painful, but remember that you're still in control. Rely on the tactics above and remember to consult a doctor or physical therapist if you're still in pain. There are a lot of more intensive, in-office treatments available if the options above aren't quite cutting it.

For more ankle pain management tips, make an appointment with a podiatry clinic, such as Scola Podiatry.