One of the diseases that most affects people’s ability to move is arthritis of the ankle. As the cartilage covering the bone is worn away, the bone fragments are unable to cushion the loads on the patient’s malleolus.
Therefore, although it is not a common type of arthritis, it is worth knowing what this degenerative disease of the ankle joint consists of. We highlight what it is, what its symptoms are and even how it can be improved with a compression ankle brace.
What is ankle arthritis and what are its symptoms?
The ankle refers to the joint where the leg and foot are connected. It is made up of three bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus. The ankle joint is a functional unit made up of the sum of two morphologically independent joints: the tibioperoneoastotalar joint and the lower tibioperoneal joint.
Thanks to its anatomy, the ankle is characterised by acting as an optimal shock absorber for the lower limb, as well as distributing the forces in each leg (half forwards and half backwards). It does this through the bone at the back of the ankle called the talus. Over time, the talus bone wears down, leading to what is known as arthritis. One of the most common forms of arthritis that can affect the ankle joint is degenerative joint disease.
This type of arthritis in the ankle area has a number of different causes and risk factors
- Sports with many repetitive movements.
- Overloading of the joint.
- Having foot disorders (flat feet or severe pes cavus).
- Trauma or fracture of the ankle (post-traumatic arthrosis).
- Metabolic or rheumatological disorders.
- Wear and tear of the joints due to age.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Genetic component.
We list the main signs and symptoms manifested by a patient with such a condition:
- Intense pain in the affected joint and foot.
- Stiffness in the ankle area or reduced flexibility.
- Inflammation or swelling in the joint.
- Fluid build-up in the joint or joint effusion.
- A feeling of pressure in the area that makes walking difficult.
- Functional disability and loss of strength
- Deformation of the bone structure.
What are the benefits of using a compression ankle brace to treat ankle arthritis?
In order to slow down the joint degeneration associated with this disease, it is essential that the patient undergoes effective treatment as soon as possible in order to mitigate the continuous deterioration of the ankle joint. To do this, it is recommended to see a specialist doctor who can study the case more closely and, above all, assess the pathology based on its causes, its symptoms and its degree of severity.
Generally speaking, ankle arthritis is treated with:
- Joint mobilisation exercises.
- Contrast foot baths (warm and cold water).
- Body weight control.
- Use of suitable footwear.
- Massage by an expert.
- When necessary, infiltrations of plasma rich in growth factors should be used.
Apart from this, the health professional may recommend certain alternative therapies to help mitigate the effects of arthritis in this area. One of the most effective is compression therapy which, based on an elastic garment applied to the injured region, has the ability to reduce venous pressure, normalise blood flow, suppress the inflammatory response, improve mobility and autonomy, thus precipitating the patient’s rehabilitation phase.
Compression ankle supports promote pain relief through the following benefits:
- They mitigate pain instantly.
- They attenuate inflammatory processes by the support they provide.
- They optimise blood circulation to promote rapid recovery.
- Protect the ankle in order to limit the occurrence of a more serious injury.
- Decrease muscle fatigue in the affected region.
- Provide greater stability and comfort in the ankle area.
- They transmit heat and prevent cold in the injured region to produce a sedative effect.
- They help to limit movement in the ankle and thus prevent accentuation of the ailment.
What type of sports ankle braces are best for improving ankle arthritis?
Nowadays, multiple manufacturers of compression garments have focused on designing different types of compression ankle braces in order to meet the needs of their target audience. According to their specifications, these types of accessories have the ability to fulfil certain functions to promote the improvement of the ankle joint in the shortest possible time, depending on each case.
Patients with ankle arthritis should focus on purchasing an ankle brace that provides the benefits of compression therapy without externalising detrimental results to their health. It is advisable to make use of a type of garment known as a sports compression ankle brace, as this is an ideal model to speed up the rehabilitation of the malleolus area, regardless of the severity of the condition.
Specifically, compression sports ankle supports are characterised by their optimal elasticity which, at a therapeutic level, offers the right level of support to reinforce the ankle joint and improve its mobility both when performing common day-to-day activities as well as during sports practices. The devices are made of a breathable, high-quality material that relieves the accumulated tension in the ankle and stabilises it with appropriate compression.
The use of sports ankle braces brings the following health benefits:
- They exert a compressive massage to provide relief, following the manifested pain.
- They optimise blood circulation.
- Minimise muscle fatigue that may develop in the area.
- Provide greater stability to the ankle joint.
- Ensure remarkable protection to the ankle and its adjacent parts.
- Provide comfort and security for daily activities and/or physical activities.
- Prevent the manifestation of any post-disease discomfort.
- Support moisture absorption to prevent unpleasant odours.