An ankle fusion is the last thing anybody suffering from ankle arthritis wants to go through but sometimes the pain is so debilitating that it’s the only choice. An ankle fusion is a type of surgery that fuses the bones of your ankle into one piece. This allows for new bone to heal across the fused ankle joint. After surgery the patient is placed in a walking boot or cast and is instructed to remain non-weight-bearing for up to 8-12 weeks even though complete healing can take up to five months. With this aggressive surgical procedure and lengthy recovery time many ankle arthritis sufferers will exhaust all efforts searching for an alternative to ankle fusion before committing to the surgery.

Ankle arthritis occurs when the cartilage is either damaged or worn out which creates a condition where bone is rubbing on bone. With no shock-absorbing cartilage between the bones, osteophytes (bone spurs) develop and cause irritation to the joint. This may result in in ankle pain, swelling and stiffness. For this reason, patients with ankle arthritis typically find it difficult to stand or walk without being in pain. The result is limited mobility and a reduction of normal daily activities.

Through our website I correspond with ankle arthritis suffers who are facing a potential ankle fusion and are searching for an ankle brace that can help delay the surgery or eliminate it all together. For these individuals I recommend our Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace. While most ankle braces are designed to help prevent excessive ankle turning, some ankle braces are designed to also reduce weight-bearing pain. For an ankle brace to reduce weight-bearing pain it must be able to “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. 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 ankle joint.

Less impact means less pain and joint irritation.

Since ankle arthritis 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 – helping control unwanted joint movement that results in 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.

Learn More About the Ultra CTS Ankle Brace →

Our goal when treating ankle osteoarthritis (OA) with an ankle brace 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 ankle 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