Osteoarthritis Ankle Exercises

Osteoarthritis ankle exercises explained

Osteoarthritis can be a very debilitating condition. Otherwise known as 'wear-and-tear' arthritis, it's actually the most common variation. So, are there osteoarthritis ankle exercises?

Typically, it develops as people age. A combination of injury and inflammation in the joint causes the cartilage tissues to break down, leading to pain, swelling and deformity. Most of the time, changes resulting from osteoarthritis occur over many years, though there are some exceptions.

How does ankle osteoarthritis happen?

The ankle and feet are, unfortunately, ripe for the condition, simply because there are so many joints and bones. (There are 28 bones in the foot and more than 30 joints)

Usually, osteoarthritis will occur in one of three main areas:

  • The three joints in the foot that control the heel, the outer mid-foot bone, and the inner mid-foot bone.
  • The joint that connects the big toe and the foot bone.
  • The joint that connects the ankle and the shinbone.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Most forms of discomfort in the ankle can be as a result of the condition, including tenderness or pain, a reduced ability to bear weight or even move the joint, as well as stiffness and swelling in the affected area.

How is this kind of arthritis diagnosed?

Doctors will use a number of processes to diagnose the condition, including:

  • Family medical history
  • A physical exam
  • X-rays
  • MRI scans

Osteoarthritis is fairly common and affects a lot of people.

Treatment options

Doctors can do a number of things to help patients manage the pain and discomfort of the condition. These include:

  • Steroid medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pain relief medication
  • Pads and arch supports
  • Orthotic supports
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom shoes

Depending on the cause of the condition, doctors may also recommend weight loss to help take the pressure off the joints.

Is there anything I can do to help alleviate the symptoms and the discomfort? What are the ankle osteoarthritis exercises?

There are a number of Osteoarthritis ankle exercises you can do to help improve the strength and flexibility in your ankle and to help you fight off the effects of osteoarthritis.

Ankle circles

Osteoarthritis ankle exercises: Though this is quite a simple exercise, don't underestimate its effectiveness. All you need to do is sit with your back against a chair or wall, straighten your knee out and slowly rotate your ankle both clockwise and counter clockwise for 10 to 15 cycles on each foot.

If you find doing this uncomfortable already, then consider doing the exercise in warm water such as in a pool or even in your bath (if you've got the space). This can take some of the pressure off the joint.

Towel grabbing

Osteoarthritis ankle exercises: Now, this exercise might seem strange, but again it can be very effective in helping you alleviate the discomfort in your ankle. As with the circles, sit on a straight backed chair and fetch a clean towel from your cupboard and place it on the floor in front of you.

From there, put your feet on to the towel with your ankles on the side closest to you so your toes can grip the material. From there, you should try to grab the towel with your toes and pull it towards you, arching your feet as you make the motion, keeping your ankle in lace. Once you've reached as far as your toes will move back, hold the position for 10 seconds before relaxing and laying the towel back flat. Repeat this several times.

Isometric exercises

Osteoarthritis ankle exercises: These are another great option and are again quite simple. Once again, sit in a chair and plant your feet on the floor. Then, lift the ankle suffering from osteoarthritis and move the leg and place it on top of your other ankle.

Then you can press your arthritic foot into the other one, and hold the contraction for around 10 seconds or so, before relaxing for five seconds. If you repeat this process 10 times you should feel the benefits.

Resistance bands

Osteoarthritis ankle exercises: If you'd like to additionally stretch your ankles, an elastic resistance band can help. Obviously, you'll want to find one with low resistance. Once you've got the right band, sit on a flat surface and stretch your legs out in front of you.

From there, wrap the band around your foot and then slowly use the band to pull your toes toward you. Then you can do the reverse and point your toes away from you. Again repeat the process 10 times.

Last Reviewed:
July 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 19, 2017
Content Source: