Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition that affects various joints, including the ankle joint. OA develops over time, damaging the protective cartilage lining the joints.
OA often leads to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the affected joints, which is especially detrimental in the ankles.
Several treatments are available for ankle OA, including hyaluronic acid injections. These injections provide relief without the need for surgical intervention.
Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister is proud to offer cutting-edge treatments such as hyaluronic acid injections for ankle arthritis at Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Dr. McAlister is an esteemed foot and ankle specialist who quickly gets to the bottom of your foot or ankle pain and develops a personalized treatment plan.
Understanding ankle arthritis
Ankle arthritis is inflammation of the components within the ankle joint. A lifetime’s wear-and-tear of the protective cartilage within the joint causes it to break down and lead to symptoms such as:
- Pain that gets worse after sitting
- Stiffness in the morning
- Tenderness around the ankle
- Swelling of the joint
- Decreased range of motion
- Difficulty bearing weight or walking
Various issues lead to osteoarthritis, including obesity, genetics, and age. As you get older, it's more likely that you'll suffer from joint deterioration due to OA.
Other factors that play a role in ankle arthritis include the shape of your joint, ankle injuries, and repeated stress on the joint. These issues can eventually lead to osteoarthritis, ankle pain, and difficulty walking.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in your joints, eyes, and skin. It's a viscous and slippery product that allows the joints in your body to move easily, protecting the bones from rubbing together.
Your body also uses hyaluronic acid to retain water and keep you hydrated. One-quarter of a teaspoon of hyaluronic acid can retain a gallon and a half of water, which is excellent for hydration and treating dry eyes and tissues.
Skin flexibility is one of the other advantages of hyaluronic acid. Retaining water helps keep the skin pliable, reducing wrinkles and helping wounds heal more efficiently.
However, hyaluronic acid is best known for treating arthritis. Your body decreases production of this substance as you age, so injections boost your body’s diminished stores in the joint space.
Hyaluronic acid for ankle arthritis
Ankle arthritis can be debilitating if not treated properly. Dr. McAlister evaluates your ankle pain to determine the best course of action for treatment.
If you have ankle arthritis that's not quite bad enough for surgery, Dr. McAlister often recommends hyaluronic acid injections and other therapies for the long-term relief of ankle arthritis.
Hyaluronic acid injections in the ankle joint provide fluidity around the cartilage and bones, reducing friction, swelling, and discomfort related to OA.
You may be a good candidate for hyaluronic acid injections if you've tried oral pain relievers, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections without significant relief.
Hyaluronic acid injections work best on people with mild-to-moderate arthritis, for which other treatments haven't reduced pain to an acceptable level. However, you may need several injections spaced weeks apart for optimum relief.
You may be able to delay surgery in your ankle joint through hyaluronic acid injections. In some patients, these injections provide significantly longer relief than corticosteroid injections in the joint.
If you're tired of dealing with ankle pain and want to learn more about our expert treatments, call our team at 602-761-7819, or book an appointment with Dr. McAlister on the website.