By the time we turn 60, our weight-bearing joints may begin to wear out. While knees and hips get most of the attention, arthritis in the ankle joints can be just as painful. Muscles supporting the ankle joint get weaker, flexibility begins to diminish, and structures that absorb shock lose their capacity; arthritis may be the underlying cause of it all. Ankle problems are especially prevalent among those who have injured or broken their ankles. In addition, as many as 90 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develop foot and ankle problems. What can be done about it? "Anyone who suffers from arthritis of the ankle should try conservative treatment options first," says Brian Donley, MD, Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon and Arthritis Advisor editor-in-chief. "The best option is weight loss, because the amount of pressure placed on the ankle joints is up to six times greater than a persons body weight. After that, activities such as biking and swimming are effective because they are non-weight-bearing exercises."