With any form of arthritis there are two forms of treatment. The first is without an operation, and the second is with surgery. Most arthritis can be treated without surgery, and only in severe arthritis will surgery be considered.
In the first instance simple modifications of the way you lead your life should be tried. These include resting when the pain necessitates, slowing down and altering sporting activities. Weight loss, supportive boots and walking sticks are also useful. Splintage or bracing can sometimes help. The most important and effective non-operative treatment is weight loss.
For many people the arthritis can be controlled by support of the ankle. Supports take 2 forms. Ankle braces, which can be bought from many sports shops. These may be bandages, lace up braces, or even individualized plastic braces that can be made for your leg. These braces can be hot and cumbersome and so HIGH TOPPED, LACE UP boots with a cushioned sole should be tried. Elasticated boots do not give such good support.
Painkillers such as Paracetamol can be effective. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID), such as Brufen, Ibuprofen and Diclofenac can reduce inflammation. Patients need to check with their general practitioner or pharmacist that NSAID’s are suitable for them, as they can have side effects, especially if you have asthma, or stomach ulcers.
Dietary supplementation with Chrondroitin and Glucosamine, which can be bought in health food shops, may be effective in some patients with early disease.
Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy can help with pain and stiffness.
Patients with inflammatory arthritis are usually looked after by a rheumatologist. Disease modifying drugs (DMARD’s) are used to treat these conditions, in conjunction with painkillers and NSAID’s