How Physical Therapy Helps Ankle Osteoarthritis

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Physical Therapy: Restoring Mobility and Preventing Reinjury for Ankle Osteoarthritis


Are you dealing with ankle osteoarthritis? Physical therapy is a great way to manage the discomfort and help improve your mobility! In this article, we’ll provide an overview of how physical therapy can help people living with ankle osteoarthritis. We’ll cover what individuals can expect from physical therapy, the types of exercises they may be asked to do, the length of recovery time, how physical therapy prevents reinjury, and more.

Physical therapy is an effective way to manage the discomfort of ankle osteoarthritis without the need for medications or surgery. With the help of a physical therapist, individuals can regain strength and improve their range of motion in the affected area. This approach focuses on teaching patients how to protect their joints and manage the pain while still maintaining an active lifestyle.

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

When you first visit a physical therapist, they will go through your medical history and discuss the goals of the treatment plan with you. Your physical therapist may then take measurements or perform tests to determine the range of motion in your ankles. Based on this assessment, they’ll create a customized rehabilitation program that’s tailored for your needs.

During physical therapy sessions, your physical therapist will work with you to help improve your range of motion and strength in the affected area. They may also provide advice on how to modify activities that cause stress or pain in the ankle joint. As part of your treatment plan, you’ll be given guidance about how best to move the affected joint(s) safely and correctly.

What Types of Exercises Might You Do?

The goal of physical therapy for ankle osteoarthritis is to reduce swelling and improve strength and endurance. To do this, you may be asked to do exercises that focus on range of motion, stretching, balance, and posture. Here are some common exercises that your physical therapist might prescribe and why:

Range-of-Motion Exercises: These exercises are designed to help improve the joint’s flexibility and reduce pain. Examples include ankle circles, heel raises, and ankle pumps.

Stretching Exercises: Targeted stretches can help increase flexibility in the affected area. Examples include calf stretches, toe curls, and plantar fascia stretches.

Balance Exercises: These exercises can help improve coordination and stability, reducing the risk of falls or injury. Examples include single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walking, and balancing on a wobble board.

Posture Exercises: Improving posture can help reduce stress in the affected area while promoting better alignment. Examples include posture checks, shoulder rolls, and core strengthening exercises.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

The duration of your physical therapy recovery will vary depending on the extent of your ankle osteoarthritis. In general, it may take several weeks to months for your symptoms to show improvement. Throughout this time, you will probably have regular appointments with your physical therapist to monitor your progress and ensure positive results.

How Does Physical Therapy Prevent Reinjury?

Physical therapy can help prevent reinjury by strengthening the muscles and tendons around the affected joint(s). Through targeted exercises, your physical therapist can work with you to improve your balance, coordination, posture, and flexibility, which all play a role in reducing the risk of reinjury. Additionally, your physical therapist can provide education and advice on how to reduce stress on the joint(s), such as by modifying activities or using proper posture.


Physical therapy is an effective treatment for those who suffer from ankle osteoarthritis. By working with a physical therapist, you can build strength, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of reinjury. With proper care, you can experience a better quality of life and improved mobility.