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One of the most common treatments for ankle bone spurs is rest. It is the most effective way to eliminate the pain that comes from irritation of the tissue around the bone spur. Other common treatments include icing the ankle; changing to better shoes; stretching the area around the ankle; weight loss, which can take pressure off the ankle joint; and the use of muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs. In more serious cases, surgery might be necessary.
Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help decrease pain and the swelling around the inflamed area. Muscle relaxants can be given if the bone spur causes spasms or muscle tension. If the spur is chronic, a medical professional might recommend a cortisone shot to the painful area. Cortisone can lessen the pain and bring down the inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the bone spur.
Another common treatment for ankle bone spurs is changing footwear or putting padding in a shoe. Wearing shoes with a wider toe box or rocker-bottom heels might also help. These shoes let the foot move without as much bending of the ankle joint. Bone spurs also can be treated with a change in physical activities. Pain in the ankle area can be reduced by putting a limit on activities such as running and jumping.
These common treatments usually can alleviate the symptoms, but if they don't work, another option is surgery. A healthcare professional may be able to surgically reduce or remove the spur or can replace the ankle joint if arthritis had damaged or deformed it. One common surgery for ankle bone spurs is a cheilectomy, during which the spurs are removed. This surgery is useful if the spurs are disrupting the ankle joint's motion, but if the ankle cartilage is gone, the procedure might not eliminate the pain.
Another common surgery to treat bone spurs in the ankle is called arthrodesis, also known as joint fusion surgery. In this surgery, two bones on each end of the ankle joint are fused, eliminating the joint itself. This procedure is good for taking away much of the pain that a cheilectomy cannot, but it could cause the toes to stiffen up at their base.