Could the burning pain in your ankle be a sign of arthritis?

Man Suffering from Ankle Arthritis

Whether from an old injury or wear and tear, pain often creeps up on you, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause Perhaps you have noticed your ankles just don’t feel like they used to. Maybe the pain is interfering with your lifestyle. Wherever you fall on the scale, getting answers about your condition is paramount to avoid further injury. Listen to what your body is telling you and find out if your symptoms point to ankle arthritis. In this article, we explore ankle arthritis and how it can affect the ankles.

First, voiding misconceptions about arthritis

Arthritis DOES NOT discriminate by age

A common misconception about arthritis is that it only strikes when you are older. Although advanced age is often a factor, the condition can appear in young adults and even teens. Arthritis has a wide variety of root causes, including overuse of joints, disease, or injury. Thus, it is crucial to give your doctor a complete history of the joint. With the full history of your inflamed joint and a gentle evaluation, the podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors can then evaluate if you are experiencing ankle arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis DOES differ from tendonitis

You may have heard of or even experienced tendonitis, which is inflammation that affects the tissue connecting muscle to bone. While tendonitis may feel similar to arthritis, the two are different diseases. Instead of the tendon, arthritis affects the cartilage between bones and is more common than tendonitis. Swollen joints from tendonitis or arthritis often look and feel the same to the injured layperson, but the two conditions have separate causes.

Podiatrist Reviewing Patient Chart

Understanding your symptoms

Burning pain in the ankle is a red flag that something is amiss. Other ankle arthritis symptoms include swelling, weakness, joint fatigue, and reduced range of motion. Ankle arthritis can also cause you to change your gait pattern leading to misalignment further up the skeleton. The longer the injury goes untreated, the more likely you will develop pain in the areas that overcompensate for arthritic ankles. There are ways of managing ankle arthritis symptoms, which is why it is recommended to see a podiatrist who can work with you to create a treatment plan.

Explore the multiple types of arthritis

Remember that old ankle sprain injury that still bothers you from time to time? It may have developed into post-traumatic arthritis. This occurs when the cartilage is injured and continues to deteriorate. Without sufficient time to heal, you may experience the long-term effects of post-traumatic arthritis. Other common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, most often caused by wear and tear, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease.

Treatment options for ankle arthritis vary

Arthritis is a chronic condition; thus, the disorder is managed throughout your life. Depending on the severity, ankle pain treatment options range from lifestyle changes to surgery. Less invasive approaches, such as adjusting lifestyle habits, including weight, diet, and exercise, are typically recommended first. If recommended by a doctor, modifying your diet can reduce inflammation or decrease weight to minimize the pressure on your joints. A healthy diet, along with low impact exercise, can improve joint mobility. Please speak with your podiatrist and physical therapist to learn practices to strengthen the muscles around your joints, while not overworking them.

When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medication can be used to reduce symptoms. Depending on your medical history, pain, and inflammation levels, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter drugs, steroid injections, or TNF-blockers.

If nonsurgical treatments have proven ineffective, surgery is an option. Minimally invasive repair may be viable for some patients, while others may require a joint replacement. As with any surgical procedure, it’s best to talk to your doctor for personalized treatment.

Speaking with a podiatrist about your ankle health

Arthritis affecting the ankles can change how you go about your day to day routines. However, it doesn’t have to get in the way of your lifestyle goals. Speak with the podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors to learn more about how we can manage and treat your arthritis with methods best suited to you and your family. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can get back to life as usual.