Arthritis and Your Feet
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
January 03, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Is the pain and stiffness you’re experiencing in your feet and ankles caused by arthritis? If arthritis is left untreated, it’s possible that your symptoms could become so severe that they could affect your quality of life. Therefore, your podiatrist may recommend seeking medical attention right away to reduce the amount of damage to the joints.
What are the signs and symptoms of arthritic feet?
Wondering if you could be dealing with arthritis in your feet? Some warning signs include,
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint warmth and tenderness to the touch
- Pain with movement
- Increased pain and swelling after rest
How do podiatrists treat arthritis of the feet?
There are several different treatment options that we have available to handle your arthritis symptoms:
Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain. While those with more minor bouts of arthritis can often find relief from these medications, some patients may need a prescription-strength pain reliever to manage more severe symptoms.
Steroid injections: A dose of corticosteroids administered directly into the joint can help greatly reduce pain and inflammation. While this can be an effective treatment option, the effects are only temporary.
Physical Therapy: There are some exercises you can perform to help increase flexibility and movement while also strengthening your foot and ankle muscles to prevent further problems. Talk to your foot doctor about the different exercises you can perform each day to help improve your foot health and reduce arthritis symptoms.
Lifestyle changes: You should minimize certain activities that could cause symptoms to worsen. This includes switching from more high-impact exercises such as running to lower-impact exercises such as swimming, which will take some of the stress and pressure off the feet and ankles. If necessary we may also advise you to lose weight, as well.
Customized orthotics: Wearing orthotics made specifically for your feet can help take pressure off certain areas of the feet and help reduce pain while moving. Talk to your podiatrist about custom-made orthotics and whether they could improve your condition.
If these conservative treatments don’t do much to help your condition, then we may need to discuss the possibility of surgery. There are different kinds of surgery that we can perform and a lot will depend on the severity and cause of your arthritis. Those with advanced forms of arthritis may have to consider a total ankle replacement.