Currently, medical treatment is directed at reducing the symptoms of joint inflammation. For many patients weight loss is very helpful, and should be a cornerstone of the treatment strategy. Scientists estimate that for each pound lost, stress on the ankle is reduced by five pounds. The most common medicines prescribed for ankle arthritis are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. These medications are selected based on the patient’s medical history, allergies, and response to treatment.
Inserts and braces can be helpful in the management of ankle arthritis. Selection of the appropriate orthotic requires insight into the location of the cartilage loss, the patient’s walking and standing mechanics, and the patient’s other medical issues. A brace that can fit into the shoe is most commonly used to take stress off the ankle. Pain relief from orthotic management varies and depends on many factors.
The symptoms of joint inflammation can be markedly improved with an injection of a steroid into the joint. Because repeated steroid injections can have a negative long-term effect on the joint, potential candidates are carefully selected.