Ankle osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating condition that can significantly impact one’s quality of life by limiting mobility and causing chronic pain. This blog post aims to educate you about ankle OA, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options, with a focus on how the Ultra Ankle® Ultra CTS® ankle brace can provide relief.

What is Ankle Osteoarthritis and What Causes It?

Ankle osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative joint disease where the articular cartilage in the ankle wears away, leading to bone-on-bone irritation. This condition can arise from various causes (Arthritis Foundation):

  • Previous Injuries: Trauma such as ankle sprains or fractures often leads to OA as the joint deteriorates over time.
  • Wear and Tear: Natural aging and repetitive use can erode the cartilage, making the condition more prevalent in older adults.
  • Excess Weight: There is an additional four pounds of pressure on the ankle joint for each extra pound of body weight.
  • Underlying Conditions: Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to the development of OA.

Arthritis of ankle . X-ray of foot . Lateral view . Invert color

Symptoms of Ankle Osteoarthritis

Individuals with ankle OA may experience variations of the condition. (Penn Medicine).

  • Inflammation and swelling around the ankle joint.
  • Pain and stiffness in the ankle during activity or motion.
  • Swelling in the joint accompanied by warmth and redness.
  • Discomfort when standing, walking, or bearing weight.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Ankle Osteoarthritis

Effective management of ankle OA involves several treatment modalities:

  • Activity Modification: Altering daily activities to lessen ankle joint pain and swelling.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce joint swelling and alleviate pain (NYU Langone Health).
  • Physical Therapy: Engaging in physical therapy can assist in reducing inflammation and restoring range of motion (Total Performance Physical Therapy).
  • Ankle Braces: Specialized ankle braces are recommended to reduce weight-bearing pain and prevent excessive movement that can exacerbate joint deterioration (National Library of Medicine).

The Ultra CTS® Ankle Brace: A Solution for OA Pain

The Ultra Ankle Ultra CTS ankle brace is uniquely designed to aid individuals suffering from ankle osteoarthritis. It offers a multi-faceted approach to managing OA pain:

  • Impact Absorption: The Ultra CTS ankle brace reduces bone-on-bone irritation by absorbing a portion of the impact generated from standing or walking. This absorbed impact is then redirected to the lower leg, effectively unloading the ankle joint and minimizing joint irritation and pain.
  • Ankle Stabilization: By providing firm support to the lower leg and ankle, the Ultra CTS helps prevent excessive movement that can lead to further joint damage. This stability is crucial in managing OA pain and preventing additional injuries.

Encouraging Mobility: Unlike rigid braces, the Ultra CTS features a hinge that allows for full up-and-down ankle motion, promoting muscle strength and joint flexibility. Maintaining mobility is essential in preventing the ankle from becoming stiff and weak (Athlete Restoration Co.).


The Ultra CTS as an Effective Alternative to Ankle Fusion

Ankle fusion is a surgical procedure often recommended for severe cases of ankle osteoarthritis. While it can provide significant pain relief, it permanently reduces ankle movement, which can lead to a loss of mobility and affect the patient’s overall quality of life. The Ultra CTS ankle brace offers a non-surgical alternative with several advantages:

  • Preserves Mobility: Unlike ankle fusion, the Ultra CTS maintains full ankle range of motion, allowing for natural movement and reducing the risk of muscle atrophy and joint stiffness (Symmetry Physical Therapy).
  • Reduces Pain and Irritation: By unloading the ankle joint, the brace decreases bone-on-bone pain and minimizes joint irritation, offering significant pain relief without the need for invasive surgery.
  • Non-Invasive Solution: The Ultra CTS provides a non-surgical option that avoids the risks and recovery time associated with ankle fusion surgery. This makes it a suitable choice for those seeking to manage their OA symptoms conservatively.


Ankle osteoarthritis can be a challenging condition to manage, but with the right treatment approach, including the use of the Ultra Ankle® Ultra CTS ankle brace, individuals can may find relief from pain and improve their quality of life. The Ultra CTS brace not only reduces bone-on-bone irritation but also stabilizes the ankle and maintains natural movement, making it a comprehensive solution for those suffering from ankle OA. Additionally, it may serves as an effective alternative to ankle fusion, preserving mobility and providing pain relief without invasive surgery.

If you have any questions about ankle braces for your ankle osteoarthritis, please send a message to one of our certified athletic trainers.