Ankle osteoarthritis (OA) can be a very painful condition that can limit your activity level causing a negative impact on your quality of life. Ankle OA occurs when the articular cartilage in the ankle has worn away resulting in bone on bone irritation.

 

Most often, the OA condition is a result of previous ankle trauma such as ankle sprains or fractures. Although ankle sprains or fractures might fully heal, the trauma can eventually lead to joint deterioration and ultimately OA. Underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can also be debilitating to the ankle joint.  

For the most part, ankle osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear on the joint from years of activities that put strain on the ankles. OA does increase with age causing the ankle cartilage to wear thin providing less cushioning between the bones.

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT OF ANKLE OSTEOARTHRITIS

Symptoms of ankle osteoarthritis include:

  • inflammation and swelling around the ankle joint
  • ankle pain and stiffness
  • pain when standing, walking, or bearing weight

When it comes to treating your ankle osteoarthritis, your doctor may recommend a number of options:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce joint swelling and pain
  • Physical therapy to aide in reducing joint inflammation and regaining ankle range of motion.
  • The use of an ankle brace to reduce weight bearing pain and help prevent excessive ankle movement that can cause further injury

THE BEST ANKLE BRACES FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN

While long term physical therapy can help a patient with their ankle OA, the quickest option to reduce joint irrigation and pain may be the use of an ankle brace.

While most ankle braces are designed to help prevent excessive ankle turning, some ankle braces are also designed to reduce weight bearing pain associated with ankle injuries. For an ankle brace to reduce weight bearing pain it must “unload or offload” the ankle. “Unloading” means the ankle brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking that would normally be transferred to the ankle joint causing irritation and pain.

Our Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace is designed for individuals that have an acute ankle injury and weight bearing pain, but it is also equally effective for OA sufferers who need relief from the bone on bone irritation which is causing their OA. The Ultra CTS works by absorbing a portion of the impact created from standing or walking and then applies that impact “or energy” to the lower leg thus bypassing the sore ankle.

Less impact means less pain and joint irritation.

Since ankle OA is mainly caused by a history of ankle trauma which could include multiple ankle sprains or fractures, it stands to reason the ankle may be unstable which is contributing to the joint wear and tear. The Ultra CTS will stabilize and firm up the lower leg and ankle which will help control unwanted joint movement which causes excessive irritation and pain. Since the Ultra CTS has a hinge, full up and down ankle range of motion is encouraged to help keep the muscles strong and the joint flexible.

With ankle osteoarthritis the goal is to reduce joint irritation so the condition doesn’t worsen. Wearing the Ultra CTS is a great way to reduce or slow down the effects of OA so you can maintain a healthy and mobile lifestyle.

If you have any other questions about ankle braces for your ankle osteoarthritis, leave us a comment below or send one of our certified athletic trainers a message.

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

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Seeing as an estimated 25,000 ankle sprains occur per day in the United States, it’s no surprise that thousands of people each day are looking for ways to remedy their newly injured ankle. As an athletic trainer who has diagnosed and treated thousands of ankle injuries over the past thirty years, here is my step-by-step guide for what you should do when you sprain your ankle.

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In the U.S. an estimated 25,000 ankle injuries occur each day, so you are probably no stranger to having a sprained ankle or seeing someone else sprain their ankle. Generally speaking, there are two types of ankle sprains that are diagnosed depending on where the injury is located on the ankle – the low ankle sprain and the high ankle sprain.

LOW ANKLE INJURY

This is the classic ankle injury where the ankle rolls inward stretching the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle joint. Medically this is called an inversion ankle sprain. 80% of all ankle injuries are inversion related. The alternative to an inversion sprain would be when the ankle rolls outward, again stretching the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle joint resulting in an eversion ankle sprain.

Low Ankle Injury Brace Recommendations By Situation

  • Help prevent ankle injuries – Ultra Zoom
  • Help recover from mild to moderate ankle sprains – Ultra Zoom
  • Treat chronic ankle instability and it’s resulting injuries – Ultra High-5

Additional Resources

HIGH ANKLE INJURY

High ankle injuries occur when the foot/ankle externally rotate, stretching the tissue holding the two lower leg bones (tibia & fibula) together. This injury occurs above the ankle joint, thus the name high ankle injury. An athlete with a high ankle injury will have more pain and a longer rehabilitation period when compared to a low ankle injury. Medically this injury is called a syndesmotic’ ankle injury.

High Ankle Injury Brace Recommendations By Situation

  • Wearing a Brace After an Acute Injury – Ultra CTS
  • Transitioning out of a Walking Boot to an Ankle Brace – Ultra CTS
  • Return to Activity After a High Ankle Sprain – Ultra High-5

Additional Resources

Recovering from an Ankle Injury

Depending on the type and severity of the sprain you get, there are a variety of treatment options available to help you return to activity as quickly and safely as possible. Before returning to play or beginning any rehabilitation on your injured ankle, it’s important for you to consult your medical professional to receive a treatment plan that is specific to your injury.

After you’ve healed, your doctor may continue to prescribe an icing regimen, rehab exercises, and the use of an ankle brace to aide your treatment.

With each ankle sprain, the ligaments in your ankle joint become more and more loose, making the odds of a re-sprain occurring as high as 70%. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that strength/balance exercises are completed as well as wearing a preventative ankle brace to help prevent or reduce the severity of future ankle injuries if, and when, they occur.

If you’re not sure which ankle brace would be most helpful for your situation, send one of our athletic trainers a message and we’d be happy to talk through it with you!

Ultra Zoom

Help prevent ankle injuries all season long.

Ultra High-5

Reinforce the ankle after a history of multiple ankle injuries

Ultra CTS

Maximize stabilization to treat acute ankle injuries

Treating Syndesmotic ankle injuries with an ankle brace really took a leap forward with the invention of hinged-cuff technology.  We all know Syndesmotic or “high” ankle injuries occur when the ankle and lower leg rotate in opposite directions.  The ideal ankle brace for this condition would be one that restricts ankle and lower leg rotation.  That is what the “cuff” accomplishes in hinged-cuff  ankle brace design. (more…)

When we were developing the Ultra CTS® acute injury brace we were really astounded at the level of comfort and stability you can achieve by compressing the Tibia and Fibula together, especially with syndesmotic injuries.  However the key was to provide stable compression up to 8 inches above the malleolus.  Tape alone could not provide the structural integrity necessary to stabilize the lower leg and ease pain. Most rigid plastic ankle braces were too low on the leg to provide enough compression, plus they were so rigid making them uncomfortable.  This data lead us to develop the first PerformaFit® detachable shell technology that provided significant Tib/Fib compression and stabilization, easing weight bearing pain, promoting early activity after injury.

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