Severe osteoarthritis in right ankle

Hello, l have been struggling with severe osteoarthritis for over a year now.lnitially had steroid injections but then told l had bone on bone so no more. I am on strong painkillers but these no longer have much effect. Due to left foot taking strain a bone broke in my foot and since then l have had to be off work as l am a Care Worker. There seems to be a problem with the bone healing and l went for x-ray today. Response was wait a week and ring Dr?! I am gutted as no further forward and been off work since January when the bone broke! Unable to walk far due to pain but miss my work so much and now feel left in limbo for yet another week. I have appointment in 2 weeks re next 'steps'? l mentioned wanting a replacement ankle rather than fusion as l twisted my pelvis many years ago and think if l walk differently it will upset my back again as wearing the Ironman boot did to start with until l used a stick. Please advise me of the best way forward. I love my job and don't want to have to leave. The pain is horrendous despite painkillers and sometimes l have taken prescribed Oramorph which doesn't seem to help much either. Kind regards,



  • Hi @Ginge3

    Welcome to the online community! I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling so much and are in so much pain. I understand how frustrating this can be when you are such an active person with a professional role that you love- especially when you are used to being the person who cares for everyone else!

    The positive thing is that you are 'in the system'- seeing your Dr, having x-rays etc. although they don't seem to be giving you the advice or help that you really want right now. We have some links to information that could be of some interest to you- I would just be wary of any exercises in there for now due to the fact that you have a break and are obviously in so much pain. You need to take the time to heal (even if this is driving you barmy)

    The link above give you some background information but also ways that you could maybe help to manage your condition, and a little information on surgery. Many people have surgery but this needs to be an informed choice so get as much info as you can!

    I'm sure some of our members will be able to share their experiences with you- but in the meantime do continue to use the online community and join in with the chats where you feel comfortable.

    Take care,


  • Hi Ginge3,

    Thank you for posting on our helpline forum, I am so sorry to hear that your condition is causing you so much pain and that you have had to take time off work from the job that you love, it must be so difficult for you.

    Is the pain due to your broken foot and is painful whilst you are waiting for an operation or is it that your foot has developed Osteoarthritis caused by the trauma.

    If it is Osteoarthritis then I can suggest some self-help tips that will hopefully help with the pain, try to avoid putting weight on the foot but just do some gentle exercises, ice can also help if there is pain and swelling this can be applied for up to 20 minutes every 2-3 hours and elevating the foot can help, sometimes compression can help but always make sure the bandage isn’t too tight.

    Seeing a podiatrist may also help they are experts in helping with insoles splints and supports, advice on footwear and medication. Orthotists are trained to assess and treat problems in the foot and ankle and a physiotherapist can advise if you need to exercise the foot but possibly not if you are waiting for an operation.

    It may be worth you call your doctor again and just tell them you are struggling with the pain and ask what medication would help. I really hope that you get this sorted very soon and able to go bad to the job that you love.

    If at any point it would help you to talk things through informally and in confidence to one of our Helpline advisors about how you are feeling you are more than welcome to call our Free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 weekdays 9am – 6pm.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor

  • Ginge3
    Ginge3 Member Posts: 4

    Hello Chris,

    I don't know if osteoarthritis has developed in the foot with the broken metatarsal. The break occurred Boxing Day just prior to shift end. I then did another X2 shifts thinking l had just pulled something but after few off shift days l decided l better get it checked due to the pain. An boot was provided and after all these weeks l am still struggling with pain now in my heel and starting up towards the ankle. This in addition to the osteoarthritis in the right ankle already leaves me without a support other than my walking stick.

    I have just had another x-ray but have to wait X7 days for results to arrive with my Dr. I have my feet elevated a lot during the day. Try not to walk too far as it soon becomes agonising. I think initially the left leg was taking strain from the osteoarthritis ankle and has now been affected adversely due to this. I struggle to walk very far even with my walking stick as the pain transfers throughout my feet and l feel there is no strength to keep moving or stand.

    I take 1x 60mg Duloxetine per day and paracetamol or ibuprofen at intervals during the day. My brother takes me to the shops every 2 weeks so it's less walking but l am in agony by the time l return home and can hardly walk. I sometimes take Oramorph on these times to try to prevent the pain being so bad before l get home again.

    It is hard to perform tasks around the home due to the pain if l stand too long. When sitting l always elevate my legs to try to help. Fenbid gel has little/no effect and l bought some gel for horses recommended on an osteoarthritis chat group which helps slightly.

    Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. A friend told me to apply for PIP (not that this will help with pain relief). My brother says it is affected by savings. I don't have very much but using it to top up my income as only receive SSP now so less than half my wages coming in. I miss my job and am desperate to get back there as soon as possible. I miss all my residents and feel someone has stolen my life away? 😰

  • Ginge3
    Ginge3 Member Posts: 4

    I will try the ice you have suggested. I don't think they can provide different medication. This seems to be all they can offer with Oramorph being the most powerful but l take this very rarely only really on the shopping trip but l am still on dreadful pain despite using it and have a trolley to lean on and we are not out for a long time. My brother carries the shopping inside for me bless him. I think having been independent l find it frustrating as well that l can't just do something that needs doing and my independence is starting to disappear. Most of all l miss my job but there is no way l can do 7 hours Inc 30 minute break.

  • Hi@Ginge3

    Thanks for your updates. There comes a time where you may want to ask about referral to a specialist. As we've mentioned previously, why not ring us on 0800 5200 520 so we can try to support you in a bit more detail.

    In the meantime it's really helpful to eat carefully to lose any overweight and keep moving (stronger muscles deal better with painful arthritis).

    Managing your pain | Treatments and self-help (

    All the best

    Guy - Helpline Team