Ankle Arthritis Pain Relief Naturally

Ankle arthritis is depressing. Life doesn’t seem worth living much when every step hurts and pain relief eludes you. If the pain you’re feeling is getting worse, it may be timely to consider dietary supplements for ankle arthritis pain relief naturally.

My husband and I use pain management and nutritional products from a science-based leader in the dietary supplement industry. Many of their products have had clinical studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Their standards of excellence far exceed the industry norm. (Their three natural pain products are featured at the bottom of this web page).

One fact about arthritis of the ankle is certain--untreated ankle pain and repeated bouts of swelling and stiffness will result in reduced mobility and restricted quality of life as the years go by.

What is arthritis of the ankle?

The word 'arthritis' means “joint inflammation.” Arthritis of the ankle is likely to be osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA is the most common of all types of arthritis. It’s also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. RA is much less common. It’s an autoimmune inflammatory type of arthritis.

There isn’t actually a disease called ankle arthritis or foot arthritis.

All arthritis of the ankle is aggravated with weight-bearing activities, such as walking. The ankle is the main weight-bearing joint in the body. When walking, the body’s weight is transferred to the ankle, the foot and the big toe.

The pain and stiffness you feel in your ankle and foot as you grow older is probably osteoarthritis. Symptoms of osteoarthritis could be limited to one ankle or foot. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually affect both sides of the body simultaneously (both ankles, both feet, both knees, etc.).

Your doctor should make the diagnosis of arthritis type

Not all the pain you feel in the foot is caused by ankle arthritis. Sometimes, it’s disguised as problems of the hip and low back. A very careful examination is required to identify whether the harm is created by ankle arthritis or by any other health problems. Only a qualified medical doctor can diagnose arthritis.

If you think you may have arthritis, make an appointment with your doctor as a first step. He can prescribe a treatment program, or refer you to a rheumatologist for further evaluation. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is diagnosed on the basis of a clinical examination as well as blood tests.

Whichever the type of arthritis, if left untreated the pain and swelling can grow worse, eventually becoming so excruciating that you can no longer walk even short distances. But with the right natural treatment, you may be able to slow the development of arthritis and reduce symptoms to help you regain a more productive life.

How is ankle arthritis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of ankle arthritis most likely will involve the following:

  1. A preliminary medical history in which the doctor asks questions about when and where the pain began
  2. A test called a gait analysis, in which the doctor measures your stride and the way you walk
  3. X-rays
  4. Bone scans
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Anatomy of the ankle and foot

In medical terms, the ankle joint also includes the foot nomenclature. The foot is incredibly complex, with a variety of connecting bones, cartilage, tendons and muscles. Tough bands of tissue, called ligaments, keep the bones and joints in place.

Each ankle and foot has 28 bones and more than 30 joints. The most common ankle/foot joints that arthritis affects are:

  1. The joint where the ankle and shinbone meet
  2. The three joints of the foot that involve the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone
  3. The joint of the big toe and foot bone

The skeleton of the ankle/foot begins with the talus, or ankle bone, that forms part of the ankle joint. The two bones of the lower leg, the large tibia and the smaller fibula, come together at the ankle joint to form a very stable structure known as a mortise and tenon joint.

The two bones that make up the back part of the foot (sometimes referred to as the hindfoot) are the talus and the calcaneus, or heelbone. The talus is connected to the calcaneus at the subtalar joint. The ankle joint allows the foot to bend up and down. The subtalar joint allows the foot to rock from side to side.

Just down the foot from the ankle is a set of five bones called tarsal bones that work together as a group. The tarsal bones are connected to the five long bones of the foot called the metatarsals. The two groups of bones are fairly rigidly connected, without much movement at the joints.

And finally, there are the bones of the toes called phalanges. The joint between the metatarsals and the first phalanx is called the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. These are the joints that form the ball of the foot. Movement in these joints is very important for a normal walking pattern.

Not much motion occurs at the joints between the bones of the toes. The big toe, or hallux, is the most important toe for walking, and is a common area for problems in the foot.

Ankle and foot joints where arthritis is prevalent

The joints most commonly affected by arthritis in the lower weight-bearing extremity:

  1. The ankle (tibiotalar joint). The ankle is where the shinbone (tibia) rests on the uppermost bone of the foot (the talus).
  2. The three joints of the hindfoot. These three joints include:
    • The subtalar or talocalcaneal joint, where the bottom of the talus connects to the heel bone (calcaneus);
    • The talonavicular joint, where the talus connects to the inner midfoot bone (navicular); and
    • The calcaneocuboid joint, where the heel bone connects to the outer midfoot bone (cuboid).

  3. The midfoot (metatarsocunieform joint). This is where one of the forefoot bones (metatarsals) connects to the smaller midfoot bones (cunieforms).
  4. The great toe (first metatarsophalangeal joint). This is where the first metatarsal connects to the great toe bone (phalange). This is also the area where bunions usually develop.

2 million Americans have ankle arthritis

“At least 2 million Americans suffer from ankle arthritis and with each new year, more of the nation's 78 million baby boomers are coming down with the chronic, progressive, irreversible disease that, unlike osteoarthritis in most other joints, is extremely hard to treat,” wrote Bill Hendrick of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an article dated May 27, 2008. “In fact, treatment now mainly amounts to a doctor’s admonition to take two anti-inflammatories and call back in the morning”, he added.

According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society arthritis may occur in your back, neck, hips, knees, shoulders or hands, but it also occurs in your feet and ankles. Almost half of people in their 60s and 70s have arthritis of the foot and/or ankle that may not yet cause symptoms.

Natural treatments when started early can help forestall these symptoms without causing gastrointestinal side effects. For example, glucosamine hydrochloride supplements can help rebuild certain cartilage and joint tissue. Prescription drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) simply mask the pain but do not regenerate body cartilage or tissue.

What are the most common ankle arthritis symptoms?

Pain is the most common and prevailing symptom of ankle arthritis and occurs at the height of the ankle joint. It usually comes from deep within the joint itself and can radiate completely surrounding the joint. Swelling and stiffness are other symptoms. Pain intensity and duration varies significantly person to person and at different times. At first, pain symptoms may occur sporadically, especially after many hours on your feet, or following high impact activities such as running or participating in a sports event. As ankle arthritis progresses, pain will occur more frequently at progressively less weight-bearing activity.

Advanced ankle arthritis pain can become present most of the time, even when you are off your feet or in bed at night.

Deformity of the ankle can also occur. Chronic swelling is another symptom. An arthritic ankle can develop a tilt inwards or outwards at the ankle joint, especially under weight stress.

Ankle arthritis may be well-advanced before symptoms become prevalent. For this reason, if you are 60 or older, it may be important to begin a program of joint-health prevention and control with safe, natural ingredients.

In the severely damaged ankle joint, the cartilage tends to rip from the bone. The fragments of cartilage will then float around in the joint causing pain and additional damage

Rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease in which certain cells of the immune system malfunction and attack healthy joints. Usually a patient has already been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis elsewhere in the body prior to experiencing foot and ankle symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis, is an inflammatory condition caused by an irritation of the joint lining (the synovium). People with rheumatoid arthritis for at least 10 years almost always develop arthritis in some part of the ankle or foot.

When joints become inflamed due to RA, the synovium thickens and produces an excess of joint fluid. This overabundance of fluid, along with inflammatory chemicals released by the immune system, causes swelling and damage to the joint’s cartilage and bones.

Symptoms of rheumatoid ankle arthritis

Ankle and foot problems caused by RA most commonly occur in the forefoot (the ball of the foot, near the toes), although RA can also affect other areas of the ankle. The most common signs and symptoms of RA-related ankle/foot problems—in addition to the abnormal appearance of deformities—are pain, swelling, joint stiffness, and difficulty walking.

The signs of inflammation can include pain, swelling, redness, and a feeling of warmth around affected joints. In some patients, chronic inflammation results in damage to the cartilage and bones in the joint. Serious damage can lead to permanent joint destruction, deformity, and disability.

How is the ankle treated?

Ankle arthritis can be treated non-surgically and surgically.

Non-surgical methods to treat the ankle include:

  1. Natural dietary supplements
  2. Pain relievers (over the counter)
  3. Anti-inflammatory prescription drugs to reduce swelling in the joints
  4. Pads or arch supports
  5. Canes or braces to support the joints
  6. Inserts that support the ankle and foot
  7. Physical therapy
  8. Steroid medications injected into the joints
  9. Weight control

Surgical methods to treat ankle arthritis include:

  1. Arthroscopic surgery—This surgery can help in early stages of arthritis. It is similar to arthroscopic surgery done on the knee joint. Arthroscopic surgery can help to remove damaged or loose tissues or spurs that are present in the joint.
  2. Ankle fusion surgery—This surgery, called arthrodesis, involves fusing bones together with the use of rods, pins, screws, or plates. After healing, the bones remain fused together.
  3. Ankle joint replacement surgery—This surgery involves replacing the ankle joint with artificial implants and is rarely used.

Recommended natural supplements for ankle arthritis

Natural formulations recommended for the symptoms of ankle arthritis include, but are not limited to:

  1. Glucosamine hydrochloride helps your body build cartilage for joints and promotes comfortable movement.

  2. Alfalfa supplements for relief of joint pain where swelling is a persistent symptom. Alfalfa is a natural diuretic.

  3. Boswellia extract is nature's anti-inflammatory for pain associated with arthritis and discomfort caused by overexertion. It is gentle on the stomach and works in as few as five days.

  4. Safflower extract promotes flexibility and overall comfortable movement after exercise and is gentle on the stomach.

  5. Menthol combined with aloe vera and other natural plant extracts provides deep cooling temporary relief up to four hours for pain associated with backache, arthritis, bruises, and sprains.

Relief of ankle arthritis is not easy to obtain and is likely to require focused treatment over a long time—sometimes for life. Doctors traditionally prescribe over-the-counter or prescription NSAIDs, however these can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach pain and have long-term health consequences you may not want at risk.

NSAIDs serve only to temporarily mask pain and reduce inflammation, but not to feed the body at the cellular level.

Feeding cells is where the benefits of plant-based natural products step in. Not only does the right natural supplement contain anti-inflammatory properties, it also has the ability to help the body repair itself by repairing and renewing cartilage, improving lubrication and cushioning joints.

Not all natural supplements are equal in quality

Not all supplements are equal in the lightly regulated dietary supplement industry. There is no requirement that manufacturers prove the efficacy of their products. There is likewise no standardized testing to ensure the quality and purity of ingredients. Because of this, there are now vast differences in quality of supplements.

The dietary supplement industry has been unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1994 when Congress enacted the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The DSHEA law changed the way vitamins, minerals, herbs and specialty supplements were regulated by the federal government. They were no longer regulated the same as pharmaceutical drugs. Instead, supplements were classified as foods.

While the 1994 law empowered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the safety of supplements and the validity of product claims, the FDA did not promulgate or enforce testing by manufacturers until the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) that since June, 2010 cover the entire industry. The cGMPs do not address product efficacy at all.

The new cGMPs requires manufacturers to test the purity and composition of their products, but allows each manufacturer to determine its testing methods.

Even today, consumers need to be wary when purchasing dietary supplements.

What does this mean to the supplement consumer?

What this means to consumers is "buyer beware!"

"This has been a `buyer beware' market," Dr. Mark B. McClellan, the FDA commissioner, said in the cGMP announcement, in which he estimated that 1,000 domestic and foreign companies make supplements sold here.

“We’ve known about this problem for a long time,” said Dr. Wallace Sampson, editor of The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and a clinical professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Dosing in these products can vary from 0 percent to 300 percent.” By testing ingredients, the new rules hope to minimize this discrepancy.

The FDA also acknowledged that the new regulations will likely increase the cost of dietary supplements as most companies must implement set-up costs for compliance and will incur significantly higher annual costs.

Some pundits decry the new rules for not establishing standardized testing of ingredients throughout the industry.

Many supplements are promoted with marketing hype.

Over the years, lack of regulatory control of dietary supplements left the industry wide open to a flood of hundreds of new companies with new products and marketing hype. Many companies make claims that their product contains the latest wonder ingredient and is the best supplement you can find. But how can you know for sure? That’s the same question that I asked. It’s the question that led me to investigate the quality of the nutritional dietary supplement industry.

I discovered there’s a vast difference in quality of natural supplements. I discovered that few companies went the extra mile to voluntarily test raw materials. Few companies engaged in clinical testing, which is expensive and affects their bottom line, but without it there's no proof the product works.

How to find the best dietary supplement company

To help me find the best dietary supplement products, I first prepared a list of 30 questions to measure standards of excellence in different supplement manufacturers.

The answers led me to a company, founded in 1956—a leader in the natural nutrition industry. The science behind each of their products is second to none. They’ve invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and have over 90 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company! They refer to their quality as 'beyond organic'.

My husband and I have had wonderful long-term results with their natural products for my neck osteoarthritis of my neck and my husband’s knee arthritis. I have no doubt they would be equally effective for sufferers of ankle arthritis.

Only one dietary supplement company has a 20-year landmark study

When investing in dietary supplements for ankle arthritis, consider it first as an investment in your health. This way, you won't want to waste your money on poorly formulated or synthetic supplements containing artificial colors, sweeteners, binders, fillers, etc. that will not be readily absorbed into your bloodstream.

Instead, you'll want a high quality dietary supplement with ingredient purity, potency, and guaranteed efficacy that your body's cells will happily absorb.

There's only one natural supplement company that can claim a 20-year clinical dietary supplement landmark study on its consumers that verifies from blood samples that its supplement users retained normal levels of blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and homocysteine.

The 2006 study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health, comparing one company's supplement users to people who took either no supplements or other brands of multivitamins from different companies. For details go to:

Featured natural ankle arthritis supplements

In 2003 this same company introduced a natural pain relief program consisting of two oral dietary supplements and one topical pain relief cream, all of which contain nutrients including glucosamine, boswellia and other special ingredients to help reduce inflammation, swelling and stiffness as well as protect ankle joints and provide long lasting pain relief.

Over time, these natural supplements have remarkably improved our osteoarthritis symptoms. You may want to try any or all of these and see if these safe treatments work for your ankle arthritis or ankle pain.

One of the products is a natural complex for pain relief.

A second is a natural complex for joint health. For details and a video on this product, visit this page link.

The third is a natural pain relief rub

If you’re looking for ankle arthritis pain relief, I highly recommend a natural trio of pain products scientifically designed to lessen symptoms and improve joint health. Your feet will be glad you did!

Disclaimer: Health statements on this ankle arthritis page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Osteoarthritis Relief. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It affects joints of the knees, hips, fingers, lower spine and neck. Symptoms typically develop gradually. A joint is swollen, sore or stiff at first. Click here for more on osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. The patient is trying to obtain the same or improved relief from rheumatoid arthritis without gastrointestinal and other side effects related to drugs. Click here for RA natural treatment options

Knee Pain Relief. During their lifetimes, an estimated 45 per cent of Americans will develop knee osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis. Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief and help the body build cartilage and promote comfortable movement of the knee. Click here for more knee joint information.

Neck Pain Relief. Usually, everyday activities are the cause of neck pain. Some can be altered or eliminated to relieve common symptoms such as neck pain and a stiff neck and perhaps forestall the onset of arthritis. Natural supplements can be helpful. Click here for more information

Hand Pain Relief. Wrist, finger, and thumb joint pain are all symptoms of arthritis of the hand. Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief and help to regenerate cartilage in the hand joints. Hand arthritis most often occurs in three places...Click here to find out more

Elbow Pain Relief. Early symptoms of elbow joint pain are often controlled with a combination of natural anti-inflammatory treatment and home self care. Tennis elbow is not arthritis--it is a typical elbow pain condition. Click here for more

Hip Pain Relief. Hip arthritis studies show glucosamine hydrochloride dietary supplements provide pain relief similar to drug therapy without risk of side effects for those with moderate to severe arthritis symptoms. Click here for more information on hip pain

Joint Pain Relief. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a drug-free future with no harmful side effects and have complete control over your joint pain? And wouldn't it be great if the natural joint pain supplement you used was guaranteed to be completely safe for your health? It's not a dream--all of this is possible.... Click here for more on natural joint pain relief

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