Do you suffer from pain in your ankle caused by osteoarthritis? Does the pain prevent you doing the activities you want to do?
Osteoarthritis of the ankle can be debilitating. It can cause pain and restriction of the joint, which can make it difficult to perform simple tasks, like walking.
If you ignore osteoarthritis of the ankle it will generally get worse as you get older. This can lead to more pain and more restriction in the joint. The more the restriction, the harder it becomes for you to stay active or even to walk.
With treatment and some exercises, you can decrease pain in your ankle. You can also stay active by maintaining and improving the movement available at the ankle joint.
While osteoarthritis of the ankle can’t be reversed, changed or prevented, you can help to reduce and improve the symptoms.
Here are three great exercises you can do at home to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the ankle:
- Skiing exercise
This exercise will improve the range of movement available in the joint. Normally, the greater the range of movement, the less pain you will experience.
Start with your feet about hip to shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent. Move your body from side to side, this will move your ankle joint. Repeat this at least five times to each side, at least twice a day.
- Calf stretches
By stretching your calf muscles, you will help to loosen them and take some stress off the ankle joint. This can help to decrease pain in the ankle.
Stand facing a wall with one foot forward about hip-width apart. Keeping your back leg straight and your back heel on the ground, lean forward into the wall. You should feel this stretch towards the top of your calf muscle. To stretch the lower portion of the calf muscle, bring the back foot forward a bit, but still back from the front foot. Now bend through both knees and lean toward the wall. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat at least 3–5 times a day to both legs.
- The ankle alphabet
This is a really easy exercise to improve the range of movement at your ankle joint.
Think of your big toe as the tip of a pen. Now use your big toe to write out the lower case alphabet from a to z. Make the movements as big as you can without moving your entire leg. This exercise is normally done seated, but can also be done standing. Write out the alphabet at least five times a day, but you can do it more often if you like. Doing this exercise without shoes is best, but it can be done with shoes on, as long as they don’t limit the movement of your ankle.
If you do these exercises regularly, you should see a decrease in arthritic pain, and an improvement in the range of movement of your ankle. If you still have pain, you may need the help of a professional.