Arthritis is incredibly common, and because aging is one of the major contributors to arthritis onset, many people feel that they can do little to prevent the condition. This just simply isn’t true, and there are many simple things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing arthritis. At a minimum, these techniques can help to prolong the health of your joints and slow down natural arthritic degeneration so that you retain normal joint function for as long as possible. With that in mind, we wanted to use today’s blog to shine a light on six ways that you can work to prevent ankle arthritis.

How To Prevent Ankle Arthritis

While there’s nothing you can do to slow the passage of time, aging isn’t the only contributing factor to arthritis onset. If you are mindful of the other risk factors and work to become a healthier version of yourself, we’re confident that you can reduce your ankle arthritis risk. Here’s a look at six ways you can slow or prevent ankle arthritis progression.

  1. Exercise – Regular exercise is great for your whole body, but it’s especially helpful for your joints. Exercise will help to develop the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues that aid in joint function and stability. Find 30-45 minutes a few times a week to walk, run, bike or swim, and your joints will be better because of it.
  2. Targeted Strength Training – You can also help to prevent ankle arthritis by doing some targeted strength training exercises. Connect with a physical therapist or look up some resistance band exercises online and do some ankle-specific exercises a couple times a week. This will ensure that you’re targeting the specific muscle groups you need to keep your ankle joints healthy.
  3. Treat Injuries – An ankle injury can work to speed up arthritic degeneration, and this is especially true if you don’t actively treat the original injury. Left untreated, symptoms can linger and soft tissues may never heal correctly. This can lead to an increased risk of future injuries or gait changes that end up putting additional stress on certain areas of your ankle, which can speed up degeneration. Make sure that you proactively treat ankle sprains and fractures.
  4. Weight Management – Simply put, the more we weigh, the more stress our feet have to help disperse with every step we take. Over the years, all this extra stress can add up and speed up arthritic degeneration. Strive to work towards a healthier weight with diet and exercise, and your feet and ankles will be a big beneficiary of this weight loss.
  5. Wear Supportive Footwear – If your shoes aren’t providing adequate support to your feet and ankles, your body has to handle additional stress that can contribute to structural degeneration. Make sure that your feet are comfortable in your shoes and that the footwear accounts for your individual foot shape, including their width, arch size and more. Wearing the right shoe for the activity is also important to prevent overstress and foot injuries.
  6. Consult With A Foot Specialist – Finally, if you’re starting to deal with foot or ankle discomfort, consider syncing up with a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald. He can get to the bottom of your issues and set you up with an individualized treatment plan to address the underlying injury or threat to your ankle health. Arthritis symptoms tend to get worse without targeted treatment, so the longer you put off care, the more difficult it becomes to achieve complete pain relief.

For more information on how you can prevent and treat ankle arthritis, or to talk to a specialist about a different foot or ankle issue that you’re dealing with, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.

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