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. OA does increase with age causing the ankle cartilage to wear thin providing less cushioning between the bones.


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 several 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 a specialized ankle brace designed to reduce weight bearing pain and help prevent excessive ankle movement that can cause further joint deterioration.


While long term physical therapy can help reduce pain associated with OA, the best option to reduce bone on bone irritation that causes joint pain is to wear a professional ankle brace designed to reduce impact to the ankle.

Most ankle braces are designed just to help prevent excessive ankle turning which causes injuries to ligaments. However, to treat OA you need an ankle brace that not only helps to prevent excessive ankle turning but will also “unload” or “offload” the ankle as well. “Unloading” means the ankle brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking that would normally be transferred through the ankle causing joint irritation and pain.

Our Ultra CTS (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace is designed 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 wear and tear on the joint. 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 your normal daily activities.

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

3 responses to “The Best Ankle Braces for Osteoarthritis”

  1. Kath says:

    Please email me info on the ultra slim ankle brace. Thank you

  2. Tim says:

    Have osteoarthritis in left ankle. Looking at one of these 2 braces – the Ultra 5 or the Ultra CTS – would prefer the smaller Ultra 5 – will it work as well as the bigger CTS?


    Thanks for reaching out to Ultra Ankle. We really appreciate it.

    The Ultra CTS offers the most ankle unloading when compared to the Ultra High-5. And with ankle osteoarthritis you need as much ankle unloading as you can get. Ankle unloading means the brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking the would normally be transferred into the ankle causing joint irritation and pain. More details are found in our Osteoarthritis Page on our website.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.
    Rick Peters ATC

  3. Bruce Martin Barnes says:

    I have a bad right ankle from playing rugby in my younger days . I have bad osteoarthritis and two fractures from also participating in other sports which I played at a high level
    I walk with a stick . I also have a bad right knee.
    I need a brace that supports the ankle not like other poor products on the market and the cross over of straps certainly helps … Lets see what you have got

    Bruce M.Barnes
    Phoenix AZ


    Thank for reaching out to Ultra Ankle. We really appreciate it.

    With ankle osteoarthritis (OA) you will need an ankle brace that will “unload” the ankle. Ankle unloading means the ankle brace will absorb some of the impact from standing or walking that would normally be transferred into the ankle causing joint irritation and pain. Our best ankle brace for unloading is the Ultra CTS, To read about how the Ultra CTS is effective at treating osteoarthritis please visit our Osteoarthritis page.

    The Ultra CTS is a technical product which requires a fitting procedure detailed in the video links below.
    • Applying the Ultra CTS: Please watch this brief Ultra CTS Fitting Video to ensure you are correctly fitting the ankle brace.
    1. Forming Procedure to achieve a Personalized-Fit. Please watch the Custom Fitting your Ultra CTS video to learn how to Custom Fit the brace to your individual ankle.
    • Recommend Shoes: Please watch this Recommended Shoes video for the type of shoes that work best with your ankle brace.

    Sizing: When sizing the Ultra CTS make sure you measure your ankle circumference per the size chart on the product page. Do not use shoe size to determine ankle brace size.

    Please review all the product information and get back to me if you have any additional questions. I am here to help.
    Rick Peters ATC
    Certified Athletic Trainer

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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