What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation.” Arthritis involves inflammation (swelling) in and around the joints. Pain, stiffness, and swelling can result from inflammation. Arthritis can be an acute or chronic inflammation of a joint and its surrounding soft tissues. In arthritis, progressive joint deterioration occurs and the smooth “cushioning” cartilage in joints is gradually lost, resulting in the bones wearing against each other. Soft tissues in the joints also may begin to wear down. Arthritis can be painful and eventually can result in limited motion, loss of joint function, and deformities in the joints affected.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is generally associated with aging. Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include joint injury, obesity, genetics and anatomic factors such as joint shape and alignment.
How does arthritis affect the foot and ankle?
Each foot has 28 bones and more than 30 joints. The most common foot joints that arthritis affects are:
- The joint where the ankle and shinbone meet.
- The 3 joints of the foot that involve the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone.
- The joint of the big toe and foot bone.
Symptoms and Causes
What are the symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis?
Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis often involve the following:
- Tenderness or pain.
- Reduced ability to move or walk.
- Stiffness in the joint.
- Swelling in the joint.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is foot and ankle arthritis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of foot and ankle arthritis most likely will involve the following:
- A preliminary medical history in which the provider asks questions about when and where the pain began, as well as aggravating or alleviating factors.
- A test called a gait analysis, in which the healthcare provider measures your stride and the way you walk.
Management and Treatment
How is foot and ankle arthritis treated without surgery?
Foot and ankle arthritis can be treated in many ways. Non-surgical methods to treat foot and ankle arthritis include:
- Weight control.
- Custom-made shoes or orthotics.
- Inserts that support the ankle and foot.
- Bracing for joint suport.
- Using a cane or walker to take stress off the affected joint.
- Physical therapy.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the joints.
- Pain relievers.
- Steroid medication injected into the joints.
What surgical treatments can help to treat foot and ankle arthritis?
More than one kind of surgery may be required to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor can select the kind of surgery that is best for you, depending on the type and extent of the arthritis you have. The following are some of the surgical options for foot and ankle arthritis:
- Arthroscopic surgery: This kind of surgery can help in early stages of arthritis. In arthroscopic surgery, an arthroscope (a small instrument about the size of a pencil) is inserted into a joint. The instrument projects an image onto a monitor that is viewed by a surgeon. The surgeon can then use tiny forceps, knives, and shavers to clean the joint area. Arthroscopic surgery can help to remove any foreign tissues or bony outgrowths (spurs) that are present in the joint.
- Fusion surgery: This kind of surgery, also called arthrodesis, involves fusing bones together with the use of rods, pins, screws, or plates. After healing, the bones remain fused together.
- Joint replacement surgery: This kind of surgery involves replacing the ankle joint with artificial implants and is used only in rare cases.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/31/2019.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle. (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00209) Accessed 2/1/2019.
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle. (http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/osteoarthritis.htm) Accessed 2/1/2019.
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Articles On Osteoarthritis Types
- Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis
- Hip Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Hip)
- Spinal Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine)
- Cervical Osteoarthritis (Cervical Spondylosis)
- Hand Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Hand)
- Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder)
- Osteoarthritis of the Knee (Degenerative Arthritis of the Knee)
As you get older, you have a higher risk of arthritis. The joint damage from this condition can cause swelling, pain, and physical changes in your feet and ankles.
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Types
Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. It can involve inflammation and swelling in and around your joints and the nearby soft tissue.
With many kinds of arthritis, your joints wear down over time. You slowly lose the smooth “cushioning” cartilage inside them. As a result, your bones rub and wear against each other. Soft tissues in your joints also may begin to wear down. After some time, the joint might not work or move the way it should.
Several types of arthritis can cause pain in your feet and ankles, including:
- Osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is the most common type. Doctors also call it degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually causes changes over many years. The foot and ankle joints where itвЂ™s most common are:
- The three joints involving your heel bone, your inner mid-foot bone, and your outer mid-foot bone
- The joint of your big toe and foot bone
- The joint where your ankle and shinbone meet
- Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious forms. ItвЂ™s an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the joint. It usually happens in the same joint on both sides of your body.
- Gout happens when you have a buildup of uric acid from your diet. ItвЂ™s most common in your big toe because itвЂ™s the farthest body part from your heart.
- Psoriatic arthritis can happen in one or more joints, including your ankles and the ends of your toes. It may also cause toe swelling called dactylitis.
- Post-traumatic arthritis happens after an injury, especially a dislocation or bone fracture. You might not notice problems for years.
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Symptoms
Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis often include:
- Tenderness when you touch the joint
- Pain when you move it
- Trouble moving, walking, or putting weight on it
- Joint stiffness, warmth, or swelling
- More pain and swelling after you rest, such as sitting or sleeping
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do tests that might include:
- A physical exam
- MRI or CT scans
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Treatment
Depending on your symptoms and whatвЂ™s causing your arthritis, you might have one or more of these treatments:
- Steroid medications injected into your joints
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to help with swelling
- Pain relievers
- Pads or arch supports in your shoes
- Canes or braces for support
- Shoe inserts that support your ankle and foot (orthotics)
- Physical therapy
- Custom-fitted shoes
Surgery for foot and ankle arthritis
Some people need at least one kind of surgery to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor will suggest the treatment thatвЂ™s best for you. Surgeries for arthritis include:
- Fusion surgery. This is also called arthrodesis. It involves fusing bones together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. After they heal, the bones remain joined.
- Joint replacement surgery. This is mostly used in severe cases. Your doctor may call it arthroplasty. TheyвЂ™ll take out damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with metal or plastic.
Home Remedies for Foot Arthritis Pain
When you have arthritis in your foot or ankle, one of the most important things is to wear comfortable shoes. Look for these details:
- Shoes shaped like your foot
- Shoes with good support (for example, no slip-ons)
- Rubber soles for more cushioning
- Proper fit; ask a salesperson for help
Exercise can help keep your feet strong, flexible, and pain-free. Moves that can be good for your feet include:
- Achilles stretch. Face a wall with your palms flat against it. Step one foot forward and one foot back. Lean forward, keeping your heels on the floor. Feel the pull in the Achilles tendon and calf of your rear leg. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times on each side.
- Big-toe stretch. Put a thick rubber band around your big toes. Use your muscles to pull them away from each other and toward your other toes. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Toe pull. Put a rubber band around the toes of each foot, and spread your toes. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Toe curl. Pick up marbles with your toes.
Other home remedies for arthritis are:
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can have side effects like stomach irritation, so check with your doctor before taking them.
- Creams with menthol or capsaicin, which may stop your nerves from sending pain signals
- Putting heat or cold on the area
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements
- Gentle exercises such as yoga and tai chi
Lifestyle Changes for Foot Arthritis
A few changes to your daily life can help you feel better and may keep your arthritis from getting worse.
- If a certain activity triggers a flare-up of symptoms, try to keep it to a minimum.
- Instead of high-impact exercises like jogging, do low-impact ones like swimming or cycling.
- Keep a healthy weight so your joints arenвЂ™t under as much stress.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): “What Is Osteoarthritis?” and “Hand Out on Health: Osteoarthritis.”
National Institute on Aging: “Age Page: Arthritis Advice.”
American Podiatric Medical Association: вЂњArthritis.вЂќ
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: вЂњArthritis of the Foot and Ankle.вЂќ
Arthritis Foundation: вЂњWhen Foot Pain May Mean Arthritis,вЂќ вЂњPsoriatic Arthritis.вЂќ
When many people think of arthritis they imagine pain in the hands, hips, and knees, but it can affect any joint in the body — including the toes, feet, and ankles. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available.
Here at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, Dr. Thomas Rambacher offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for foot and ankle issues, including arthritis . If you’re having trouble walking or having to cut back on activities you love due to arthritis pain in your feet, come in to see us.
We administer personalized cutting-edge treatment with as little downtime as possible. Plus you get direct access to Dr. Rambacher via his cell phone in case you have a question after your appointment.
Arthritis in the feet
Healthy joints have connective tissue known as cartilage between the bones that cushions the pressure when you move. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage gets worn away, allowing the bones to rub together, which causes swelling and pain. Foot arthritis can lead to a loss of strength, flexibility, and function, as well as reduced mobility.
With our body weight bearing down on our feet with each step we take, it’s no wonder wear and tear on our joints develops over time. Close to half of people develop arthritis in their feet by their 60s and 70s.
In addition to aging, being overweight and having a family history can increase your likelihood of arthritis in your feet. Women who have worn high-heeled shoes for many years can be at greater risk, too.
In addition to osteoarthritis, gout is another type of arthritis that can affect the big toe, and can make it painful for your foot to push off the ground when walking. With gout, high levels of uric acid collect in the blood and cause sodium urate crystals to build up around the big toe joint, leading to pain.
Treatment options for foot arthritis
There are lots of things we can do to help reduce the pain of your foot arthritis. Pain relievers can help with discomfort, while anti-inflammatory medication can decrease swelling in the joints.
Wearing proper-fitting shoes with support and rubber soles for cushioning is essential. Or we can make you special orthotic inserts or custom shoes to support your foot and ankle.
Specialized exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and toes can help with strength and flexibility. Using canes or braces for support, and losing weight (if you need to) may improve arthritis pain as well.
Other treatment options Dr. Rambacher may recommend include steroid injections, fusing the joints together to lessen friction, or surgically removing any troublesome bone spurs. We also offer stem cell therapy to help regenerate new cartilage.
If you’re tired of arthritis pain in your feet making you uncomfortable and reducing your mobility, Dr. Rambacher is ready to treat your foot arthritis. You can call our office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.
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Arthritis is a general term that can reference more than 100 different diseases. The main symptom is pain and inflammation, which generally presents outwardly as stiffness and swelling in one or more joints throughout the body. This can be an acute or a chronic issue, and can also lead to degenerative damage and progressive joint deterioration. The cartilage that is lost to arthritis removes the cushioning in the joints, and that means the bones wear against one another. Here’s what you need to know about arthritis in the feet.
Most Common Types of Arthritis in the Feet
There are several types of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankles. If you’re experiencing symptoms that seem as though they could be arthritis, you’re not alone. But you want to make sure you’re getting the right treatment and the proper diagnosis. Whether you have symptoms that indicate top-of-foot arthritis or other areas, it’s important to find out the real root cause of your pain. You can get your arthritis pain treated more successfully if you know exactly what type of arthritis you’re dealing with.
Types of arthritis that can occur in the foot are:
- Osteoarthritis – This comes from wear and tear on the joints of the feet and ankle, and can contribute to many arthritis in foot and ankle symptoms. Weight-bearing joints like the ankle are most commonly affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis – This is caused by an autoimmune disorder, and generally affects small joints. It can also harm other areas of the body. Generally, both feet are affected.
Gout – Uric acid accumulation is the main cause of gout, which is a more complex form of arthritis. Severe pain is a big part of this condition, which typically affects the big toe.
No matter the type of arthritis that’s affecting your feet, there are treatment options available. The first step is to diagnose the type of arthritis symptoms you’re experiencing in your foot, and find the cause. Then, treatment can begin. The kinds of symptoms you’re having may give some important clues about the type of arthritis you’re experiencing.
Early Signs of Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritis in foot symptoms can start suddenly, or develop very gradually. Either way, they should be discovered early and treated accordingly. Here are seven main symptoms that could indicate arthritis in the feet.
- Joint Stiffness – Stiff joints are one of the earliest signs of arthritis in the feet. The stiffness may be vague and not overly troublesome, but could get worse over time. The range of motion will be decreased, and stiffness is likely worse in the morning.
- Joint Pain – For a lot of people, arthritis causes pain in the affected joints and goes hand in hand with joint stiffness. These two symptoms are often the first indications of a problem, and may get worse when there’s an increase in activity. Pain may come and go throughout the day, though, but most of the time it is worse in the morning.
- Joint Swelling – Stress and damage to the joint can cause it to become inflamed. When that happens, the joint can swell to the point that it’s outwardly noticeable.
- Joint Deformity – Over time, the cartilage that’s located in the joints may erode, and that can happen in patches. Muscles and ligaments around the joint also weaken, which leads to misshapen joints and deformities.
- Joint Warmth – When joints get inflamed, redness and warmth are often byproducts of that inflammation. If your joints frequently feel warm, and you have other symptoms, arthritis may be the cause.
- Mucous-Based Cysts – Cysts are fluid-filled sacs, and they cause bumps, dents, and ridges around the affected joints. They often appear under the toenails or at the ends of the toes, but they can also appear in other areas. If you have cysts along with other symptoms, you may want to consult a doctor.
- Bone Spurs – Worsening joint damage can cause extra bone to grow at the joints, which can lead to bone spurs. They’ll appear as growths, and can cause problems with the function of the joints, along with pain.
While not all of these issues may be present at the same time or in the same joint, one or more of these symptoms of arthritis in your feet can be cause for concern. There may not be a cure for arthritis, and treatment varies depending on the type, but there are options to reduce discomfort and slow joint damage, in the majority of cases.
If you think you may have arthritis in your feet or ankles, don’t let the pain get worse. Come in and see us. Visit our contact page to make a quick appointment, or give us a call today at 239-936-5400. We’re here to help treat your foot pain and get you back to feeling healthy and strong.
Pain in the feet and ankles is commonplace for arthritis sufferers, especially as aging causes a progression of the condition. The human foot has 30 joints, and each one can become a source of pain and stiffness.
At Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine in Kirkland, Washington, our podiatrists work with you to help mitigate the effects of arthritis on your feet and ankles . Part of living with arthritis is staying active, so here are seven exercises tips you can implement for better flexibility and reduced inflammation.
Arthritis pain in the feet and ankles
Most arthritic pain in the feet and ankles is caused by the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones at pivotal joints wears away. The bones then grind together, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Osteoarthritis foot and ankle pain typically occurs at the ankle joint where the ankle connects to the shinbone, at the joints connecting the three parts of the foot, and in the joint connecting the big toe to the ball of the foot.
How foot and ankle exercises can help
The following exercises can help improve flexibility and mobility in the feet and ankles, strengthen the muscles supporting your ankles, and prevent stiffness and inflammation. They can all be done while sitting straight up in a chair with your feet starting flat on the floor, and should all be done for each foot and repeated 10 times.
1. Toe press, point, and curl
- Press down with your toes and raise your heels. Hold for five seconds.
- Point your toes and raise your heels until only the tips of the big and second toe touch the floor. Hold for five seconds.
- Curl your toes down and raise your heels. Hold for five seconds.
2. Big toe stretch
- Bring your foot to rest on the opposite knee.
- Use one hand to grasp your instep, and the fingers of the other to grasp your big toe.
- Stretch it up, down, and to each side gently for five seconds in each direction.
3. Toe splay
- Spread all of your toes as far apart as possible and hold for five seconds.
- Concentrate on one foot at a time or do both simultaneously.
- Try with a rubber band or elastic hair tie looped around your toes to provide resistance.
4. Marble pickup
- Place two bowls in front of the chair on the floor, one in front of the other.
- Fill the one furthest away with 20 marbles.
- Use your toes to pick up a marble from the full bowl and drop it into the empty bowl.
- Switch back and forth between your feet until all marbles are transferred.
- Reverse direction and do it again.
5. Ball roll
- Place a golf ball or a rubber racquetball on the floor next to your feet.
- Place one foot on the ball, rolling from the heel through the instep to the toes.
- Switch feet every fifteen seconds.
- No ball? Try a cold can with the label peeled off or a frozen water bottle.
6. Achilles stretch
- Rest your foot on the opposite knee.
- Grasp the instep and ball of the foot in one hand, and the toes in your other hand.
- Press back until you can feel the pull from your heel up the back of your calf.
- Hold for five seconds.
7. Ankle rotation
- Rest your foot on the opposite knee.
- Grasp just above your ankle with one hand, and the ball of your foot with the other hand.
- Rotate the ankle joint gently in a circular motion for five seconds.
These exercises can help you keep your feet and ankles from being painful and stiff and can strengthen them to more easily bear your weight. If you have arthritic foot and ankle pain, call 425-899-3234 or book your visit online today.
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When you think about arthritis, you may think about it occurring in one of your major joints, such as your hips or knees. However, any joint in your body can develop arthritis. And your feet contain a lot of joints, with 28 bones and 30 joints in the average human foot.
Like any other joints, the ones in your feet and ankles can develop pain and swelling from arthritis. The good news is there are treatment options. In this blog, Kerry E. Berg, DPM, of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates explains some of the symptoms of arthritis of the feet and ankles and what you can do if you have the condition.
Who’s most at risk?
Anyone can develop arthritis at any time, but it occurs more frequently with age. Arthritis — also known as osteoarthritis — is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage in joints wears away. Cartilage is a tough, flexible tissue that helps cushion the bones of joints so they don’t rub against each other. Cartilage also helps absorb impact.
Some people are at higher risk of developing arthritis in their feet, such as those with high arches or flat feet, because these conditions can place too much stress on their feet. If you have arthritis in your feet, the sooner you learn ways to manage it, the less damage it may cause in your feet and ankles.
Symptoms of arthritis in your feet
Like most other cases of arthritis, having arthritis in your feet can be painful. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Pain when you move your feet or ankles
- Tenderness when you touch affected joints
- Swelling or redness of affected joints
- Difficulty standing or putting pressure on your feet
- Pain or swelling even when at rest
While these symptoms can give you a pretty good idea that you have arthritis, the best way to know for sure is to have a doctor take a look. Your doctor may use imaging technology, such as an MRI, X-rays, or CT scans, to confirm that you have arthritis in your feet or ankles.
Conservative treatments for arthritis
If you have arthritis in your feet or ankles, there are a variety of conservative treatments that may help you manage the condition, including the following:
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
- Physical therapy
- Custom-made inserts for your shoes
- Wearing supportive shoes
- Doctor-administered injections of anti-inflammatory medication
- Using a cane or brace for assistance while walking
When conservative treatments aren’t enough
If the treatments above don’t help, or your arthritis continues to get worse, Dr. Berg may recommend surgery for your feet or ankles.
One procedure Dr. Berg may recommend is fusion surgery. With this surgery, Dr. Berg fuses specific bones together with pins, rods, plates, or screws. Another procedure Dr. Berg may recommend is joint replacement therapy. With this surgery, your damaged joints are removed and replaced with artificial joints made out of metal or plastic.
If you have arthritis in your feet or ankles, or if you want to see if you do and want to learn about treatment options, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.
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How are ankles and feet affected by arthritis?
Any joint in your ankles, feet and toes can be affected by arthritis. Many different types of arthritis can affect the feet and cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis in the feet can make standing and walking painful. You may find your feet and/or toes change shape, making it harder to fit shoes.
Consider different forms of exercise to take pressure off painful feet. Make sure you have supportive, well fitting footwear.
Exercise is important to keep your joints moving however you may need to try different types of exercise if you have painful feet. For example, consider exercising in water. The buoyancy of the water takes pressure off your ankles and feet and you may find you can move more freely than you can on land. Strength training and cycling are also good forms of exercise that do not put extra pressure on sore feet. If you are walking or standing, make sure you wear supportive, comfortable shoes.
One of the best ways to take pressure off painful ankles and feet is to lose any extra body weight. Being overweight can make your symptoms worse as your affected joints need to carry more weight. You may find it useful to see a dietitian for advice about healthy eating.
See a podiatrist
Podiatrists specialise in conditions affecting the feet. They can help you with advice about footwear, nail care and orthoses (inserts for your shoes that may help reduce foot pain). You will need a referral from your doctor to see a podiatrist in the public system (such as at a community health centre). These services are usually free or low cost. You can consult a private podiatrist at any time without a referral from your doctor.
The most important thing you can do to protect your feet is to wear supportive shoes that fit your feet properly. Keep these tips in mind when buying new shoes:
- Ask an experienced footwear sales person for help in choosing the right shoe and size. Remember, your shoe size may change if your feet are affected by arthritis.
- Try shoes on with any insoles or orthoses you normally wear. Some orthoses may need extra depth, particularly in the toe area.
- Your toes should not touch the end of your shoes as your toes or nails could become damaged. Make sure there is a 1cm gap at the end of your longest toe.
- Look for shoes with synthetic or rubber soles for better grip and shock absorption.
- Look for shoes that can be secured on to your feet with laces and straps. Fastenings that may be easier to do up include Velcro, elastic shoelaces and zips. There are also many devices to help you put on shoes and do up fastenings. Contact an Independent Living Centre for advice.
If it is difficult to find shoes that fit because of swollen or misshapen joints, try extra depth footwear. Contact your local Arthritis Office or an Independent Living Centre for retailers or see a podiatrist for advice.
What else can I do?
There are other treatments that may help you deal with pain and stiffness:
- Medicines: Many different types of medicines can help the symptoms of arthritis. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you understand which medicines are right for you and how best to use them.
- Heat and cold: Applying heat, such as a hot pack (microwaveable wheat pack), heating pad or hot water bottle, to stiff, painful joints may help relieve these symptoms. If your joints are hot and swollen you may find it useful to apply an ice pack. Try applying heat or cold to the painful area for 15 minutes. Always have a layer (such as a tea towel) between your skin and the heat or ice pack. You can repeat this whenever you need to throughout the day. Make sure the temperature of the skin returns to normal in between applying heat or ice packs to prevent damage to the tissues.
- Creams: Applying creams or ointments containing anti-inflammatory medicines or capsaicin (an ingredient in cayenne and chilli peppers) may help control pain. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about these types of creams.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin: It is unclear if glucosamine or chondroitin are useful for feet affected by arthritis.
- Fish oils:Fish oils may be useful for some forms of arthritis that affect the feet.
- Herbal therapies: There is no conclusive proof that herbal medicines are effective in treating arthritis of the feet.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ARTHRITIS OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT SERVICES.
Feet and arthritis – printable informaion sheet
Arthritis is commonly misunderstood; it’s not a specific disease or ailment – it’s actually a reference to joint disease and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis and similar ailments. Literally anyone of any age can suffer from it – though it’s most typical in women and the elderly.
Some of the most typical variations of arthritis we handle at Advanced Foot & Ankle are:
- Osteoarthritis, “wear and tear” arthritis, the most common form caused by breakdown of the joint and tissue over time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most serious form of arthritis, a disorder causing continual irritation and soreness in the joints and even deformity or loss of motion (women are 3-4 times more likely to obtain RA).
- Psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis causing joint inflammation.
- Gout, inflammatory arthritis, often found in those who have high levels of uric acid in the blood (most commonly found in men).
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis can occur as a result of the following:
- Injuries – notably in athletes & industrial workers, especially if ignored
- Unusual & abnormal metabolisms
- Immune system dysfunction – rheumatoid arthritis & systemic lupus erythematosus
- Bacterial & viral infections – organisms found in infections such as pneumonia & staph
- Bowel disorders –colitis, ileitis & other common bowel disorders (treating these can alleviate arthritis as well).
- Drug use – prescribed & illegal street drugs.
- Defective genes
Symptoms & Identification
Different types of Arthritis can have varying symptoms. Generally speaking, the symptoms of arthritis frequently include:
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
- Redness or heat in a joint
- Limitation in motion of joint
- Early morning stiffness
- Skin changes, including rashes and growths
The common Osteoarthritis has its own specific characteristics:
- Breakdown of cartilage
- Dull to throbbing night-time pain
- Muscle weakness or deterioration
- Difficulty walking
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which is much more sudden than osteoarthritis, often has cycles of relief where symptoms disappear only to be met again with inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is often characterized by:
- Affects more than a dozen smaller joints
- Pain is frequently in a symmetrical pattern (both ankles, index fingers, hands, ect.)
- Lengthy morning stiffness
- Weight loss
- May also affect the eyes, lungs, heart, & nervous system
Care & Treatment
Most types of arthritis aren’t completely curable, but they can be managed or even temporarily cured. Only a low percentage of those with Arthritis, usually those with Rheumatoid, are forced to use wheelchairs, and walking aids. Still, early detection is very important. One of the side effects and causes of arthritis is bone and cartilage break down; the earlier the treatment can begin the better the chance to slow or prevent further breakdown.
In some cases, debridement or fusion of the joints may be suggested. However, our podiatrists at Advanced Foot & Ankle will always look to non-surgical treatments first. Some of these treatments are:
- Pain relievers
- Shoe pads
- Arch supports
- Steroid injection
- Physical therapy
- Customized shoes
- Maintaining a healthy weight
One of the most important aspects of foot care for those with arthritis is wearing shoes that fit correctly and comfortably. Some of the elements to look for in your shoes are:
- Shoes shaped like your foot
- Shoes that have support — for example, no slip-on shoes
- Rubber soles to provide more cushioning
- Proper fit
For more information about Arthritis or to have your foot & ankle pain assessed, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the Advanced Foot & Ankle near you!
Arthritis is a complex and painful disease that can affect patients of every age. If you’re experiencing aching pain, swelling, and inflammation in your feet and ankles, you may be suffering from arthritis.
What is arthritis in the feet and ankles?
Arthritis is a frequent component of complex disease processes that may involve more than 100 identifiable disorders. It is characterized by inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the body’s joints. If the feet seem more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body, it is because each foot has 33 joints that can be affected, and there is no way to avoid the pain of the tremendous weight-bearing load on the feet. Arthritis may be a disabling and occasionally crippling disease; it afflicts almost 40 million Americans. In some forms, it appears to have hereditary tendencies.
While the prevalence of arthritis increases with age, people of all ages — from infants to seniors — are potential victims. The primary age group affected is people over 50. Arthritic feet can result in loss of mobility and independence. With early diagnosis and proper medical care, this may be avoided.
Definition of arthritis
Arthritis, in general terms, is the inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. There are multiple causes of arthritis; just as a sore throat may have its origin in a variety of diseases, so joint inflammation and arthritis are associated with many different illnesses. Besides heredity, arthritic symptoms may have their source in a number of phenomena:
- Traumatic injuries, notably in athletes and industrial workers, can damage the joints, especially if the injuries have been ignored (which injuries of the feet tend to be).
- Bacterial and viral infections can strike the joints. The same organisms that are present in pneumonia, gonorrhea, staph infections, and Lyme disease cause inflammation.
- Arthritis can frequently develop in the joints of the ankles and toes in conjunction with bowel disorders, such as colitis and ileitis. Such inflammatory bowel diseases may seem distant from arthritis, but their control can relieve arthritic pain.
- Drugs, both prescription drugs and illegal street drugs, can induce arthritis.
- Arthritis can be part of a congenital autoimmune disease syndrome of undetermined origin. Recent research has suggested, for instance, that a defective gene may play a role in osteoarthritis.
Various forms of arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is frequently called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. Although it can be brought on suddenly by an injury, its onset is generally gradual. Aging brings on a breakdown in cartilage, and pain becomes progressively more severe, although it can be relieved with rest. Dull, throbbing nighttime pain is characteristic, and it may be accompanied by muscle weakness or deterioration. Gait patterns (normal walking) may become erratic. Osteoarthritis is a particular problem for the feet when people are overweight, simply because there are so many joints in each foot; the additional weight contributes to the deterioration of cartilage and the development of bone spurs.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a major crippling disorder and perhaps the most serious form of arthritis. It is a complex, chronic inflammatory system of disease, often affecting more than a dozen smaller joints during the course of the disease, frequently in a symmetrical pattern — both ankles, or the index fingers of both hands, for example. It is often accompanied by constitutional signs and symptoms — lengthy morning stiffness, fatigue, and weight loss — and it may affect various systems of the body, such as the eyes, lungs, heart, and nervous system. Women are three to four times more likely than men to suffer from RA, indicating a linkage to heredity. RA has a much more acute onset than osteoarthritis. It is characterized by alternating periods of remission — during which symptoms disappear — and exacerbation, marked by the return of inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Serious joint deformity and loss of motion frequently result from acute rheumatoid arthritis. However, the disease system has been known to be active for months or years, then to abate, sometimes permanently. Gout (gouty arthritis) is a condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid — a normal byproduct of the diet — in the joints. A single big toe joint is commonly the locus, possibly because it is subject to so much pressure in walking. Attacks of gouty arthritis are extremely painful, perhaps more so than any other form of arthritis. Men are much more likely to be afflicted than premenopausal women, an indication that heredity may play a role. While a rich diet that contains red meat, rich sauces, and brandy is popularly associated with gout, there are other protein compounds in such foods as lentils and beans which may also play a role.
Foot Arthritis Starts When You are Younger
Around half of the adults over 60 experience arthritis foot pain. However, the wearing down of the joints in the feet start around 40 years of age. Typically this wearing down of the cartilage in the joints of the feet is due to overuse. Most people notice swelling and pain in the feet as the cartilage can no longer protect bones from rubbing together.
Causes of Foot Arthritis
Arthritis can have several causes and heredity is the main one. The symptoms of arthritis can develop due to a wide variety of factors. Simple overuse can be behind the development of arthritis in the feet and ankles but it can also be the result of viral and bacterial infections, various types of drugs, both prescribed and illegal, or a traumatic injury.
Relieving the Pain Caused by Foot Arthritis
If you suspect you have arthritis in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek out the help of a foot and ankle specialist. They can give you a proper diagnosis and help develop a treatment plan to care for your feet properly. Some of the ways you can relieve the pain of arthritis in your feet includes:
- Wearing comfortable fitting shoes
- Get a foot massage
- Stretch out the Achilles tendon
- Wearing orthopedics
- Using topical treatments
- Doctor recommended OTC pain medications
Having Foot Surgery
In some cases, a podiatrist may suggest foot surgery for treating arthritic pain. This is typically only done as a last resort when other forms of treatment offer no pain relief. Joint fusions and joint replacements are options a foot and ankle specialist might recommend. Joint fusions help in cases where arthritis is caused by too much movement in the joints; joint replacements are usually considered when the joint does not move enough.
No matter what your age, if you suspect you have developed arthritis of the foot or ankle, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. We can diagnosis foot arthritis and offer a variety of treatment options.
Are you suffering from arthritic pain in your feet or ankles that’s limiting your activities?
If so, this can have dramatic effect on your overall health and significantly impact your quality of life. As we all know arthritis is a very common condition. It can occur at any age and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The word arthritis simply means “joint inflammation”- a catch-all term that covers everything from a stiff joint from injury to severe disabling conditions such as rheumatoid, psoriatic or gouty arthritis. Arthritis can cause swelling, pain, deformity and even loss of function. In feet, arthritic changes often cause pressure areas to develop creating painful corns or calluses. Also a painful joint or spurring around a joint may develop. An arthritic ankle joint can become quite painful, deformed and even collapse inwards.
Fortunately there is help for those of you with painful arthritis in your feet. Dr. Tom Silver is an expert at the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis in feet and ankles. If you are experiencing any arthritic foot problems, call our clinic for an appointment to be evaluated and treated.
The most common form of arthritis seen in the foot and ankle is osteoarthritis. It is called “wear and tear” arthritis and typically affects people over the age of 40. Each foot has 26 bones and 33 joints. As we age, these connections and the surrounding cartilage wear out and break down. This form of the disease is degenerative in nature, meaning that symptoms worsen over time. As cartilage thins out, bones can end up rubbing together causing pain, inflammation, swelling and spurring in joints.
An injury can cause osteoarthritis in a joint as well as a weak or imbalanced foot structure. A flat foot with loose ligaments or a high arched foot with stiffness and rigidity are both at increased risk for arthritis. The typical patients that Dr. Silver is able to help are commonly experiencing joint pain, stiffness, swelling and difficulty walking.
Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis
These are just two of the many metabolic conditions that Dr. Silver sees that can be quite disabling, requiring special medications to keep it under control. Dr. Silver works with several rheumatologists in the Minneapolis area who he refers patients to get their arthritis under control and they in turn refer patients to him to treat the resultant painful foot deformities that may have developed so that they can walk and fit into shoes more comfortably.
This a common form of arthritis that can come on suddenly, attacking a joint (most commonly the big toe joint) causing intense and disabling pain. This condition is common in men between 35-50 years of age who are often overweight, with high blood pressure and a family history of gout. It’s also common in older individuals due to certain medications, especially water pills (diuretics) taken to control blood pressure or for swollen feet and ankles as well as those with diminished kidney function. Call the Westwood Foot Clinic immediately if you are having or suspect you are having an acute gout attack in your foot. We’ll get you in as quickly as possible to alleviate your joint pain, then work with you to prevent future gouty attacks or disabling gouty arthritis.
Treatment for Painful Joints
Unfortunately, there is not always a cure for arthritis but you don’t need to suffer and be limited in your activities. With appropriate treatment, our patients are often able to stay active and live with much less pain. Therefore, getting treatment as early as possible is essential.
After a lower extremity exam, gait analysis and x-rays, Dr. Silver can determine the best treatment plan for you. This may include medications, injection therapy, prescription foot orthotics, ankle/foot orthotics (AFO), special accommodative shoes or physical therapy. Surgery may also be necessary to alleviate arthritic spurring and/or pain and to keep you walking and wearing shoes comfortably.
You don’t need to suffer any longer with joint pain in your feet or ankles when Dr. Silver and the staff at the Westwood Foot Clinic can help make a difference in your life!
Click here or call (763) 231-2341 now for an appointment with Dr. Silver at the Westwood Foot Clinic in Golden Valley, MN.
Westwood Foot Clinic serves the community of Golden Valley and surrounding communities, including St. Louis Park, Plymouth, New Hope, Crystal, Robbinsdale, Wayzata, Minnetonka and Minneapolis.
May is Arthritis Awareness Month which makes it a good time to learn more about this disease. And, as your Westfield podiatric team, we need you to know how it affects your feet and ankles. So, today, we’ll explore this condition, and how you can prevent, manage and treat the symptoms of arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition characterized by inflammation and swelling; it impacts your cartilage and the lining of your joints, which leads to joint pain and stiffness. There are many different forms of arthritis, with different causes and treatments. All of which may interfere with your foot and ankle health.
What Causes Arthritis of the Feet?
Remember, each of your feet has 33 joints. And there’s no good way to keep weight off those joints, which is why foot arthritis can impact mobility. That’s one of many reasons why early intervention is important.
Sometimes, arthritis is in your genes. But other causes of foot arthritis include:
· Bacterial, viral or fungal infections that reached your joints
· Colitis or other irritable bowel conditions
Symptoms of Arthritis in Feet
All of these may be symptoms of podiatric arthritis. So come into the office if you notice:
· Swelling in one or more joints
· Joint pain or tenderness
· Joint redness or warmth to the touch
· Rashes, growths and other skin changes
Forms of Arthritis
These are the three most common forms of arthritis seen in our podiatry practice.
This is most often the result of aging, but can also be caused by past injury. OA symptoms come on gradually, bringing joint pain and inflammation, as well as muscle weakness or deterioration. Age is a risk factor for OA, as is carrying extra weight.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
This chronic inflammatory disease is incurable, but you can manage symptoms and even enter remission. RA is a progressive disease, and often attacks the joints in both your feet and ankles. When that happens, you may experience bone loss and joint deformities.
Our podiatrist is often the one to diagnose this arthritic condition. That’s because gout symptoms usually begin in your big toe joint. So, when uric acid builds up in your body, that toe become reds, inflamed and too painful to even touch your bed sheets. Gout flares can be managed with diet changes and, in some cases, medication.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Patients have better outcomes with early arthritis diagnoses. That’s because we may be able to delay cartilage damage, but we can’t reverse it. If we suspect you have arthritis of the foot or ankle, we’ll schedule a physical exam or other follow-up tests, depending on your suspected disease form.
Remember, there’s no cure for arthritis. But we can control your inflammation and maintain your current level of joint function. How is that accomplished?
If we diagnose you with arthritis, your treatment may include physical therapy and exercise. We may also recommend a course of medication, starting with over-the-counter options such as aspirin. MLS Laser Therapy may be an option to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, custom orthotics can help you manage mobility problems associated with arthritis of the foot and ankle.
When you come into our office for an arthritis consultation, Dr. David Sullivan will review your current symptoms and discuss your treatment options. Together, we can help minimize the discomfort of podiatric arthritis. And keep managing your disease to let you enjoy your favorite activities!
Your feet have some of the highest concentrations of bones and joints in your body — 28 bones and 30 joints to be exact. This complex network of bones and joints works to bear your body weight, absorb shock, help you balance, and propel you forward as you walk and run.
For all the work they do, your feet are, unfortunately, vulnerable to degenerative conditions like arthritis.
Dr. Kelly Geoghan specializes in treating a wide variety of foot conditions from fungus to bunions , and she can help you find relief from your arthritis pain . Here are a few ways arthritis impacts your feet, so you can easily identify the warning signs and get help quickly.
Arthritis and your feet
There are nearly 100 different types of arthritis that can impact virtually any joint in your body. But though there are many variations, they have one thing in common — they cause painful inflammation and swelling in your joints and the surrounding tissues.
Here are some of the types of arthritis that impact your feet.
This is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the slippery, cushioning substance between your joints called cartilage wears down over time, leaving your bones to rub against each other.
Osteoarthritis typically affects the three joints involving your heel bone and the inner and outer mid-foot bones. It can also damage the joints of your big toe, foot bone, and the joint where your ankle and shinbone meet.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a more serious type of arthritis because it stems from an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are conditions where your immune system malfunctions, becomes over-aggressive and attacks healthy tissues and cells, including your joints.
When rheumatoid arthritis is present in your feet, you typically experience symptoms in the same joints on both sides of your body.
This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid builds up in your joints and causes painful inflammation, redness, and joint stiffness, most often in your big toe. Gout is typically the result of a poor diet that consists mainly of red meat.
When your body breaks down purines, which can be found in certain foods, it produces uric acid. If you have high levels of uric acid, it turns into crystals that build up in your joint. Gout is linked to risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, genetics, certain medications, and age, but one of the main culprits is diet. Foods high in purines, including red meat, seafood, beer, and sugary drinks, can elevate the purines in your blood and lead to gout.
Warning signs of arthritis
We’ve all experienced general foot pain at some point in our lives after standing for long periods of time or from an injury, but how do you know when your foot pain is pointing to a more serious condition like arthritis?
Some common arthritis symptoms include:
- Joint tenderness or pain, especially pain that increases at night
- Difficulty walking
- Joint stiffness
- Red, warm skin around the joint
Ignoring any of these warning signs and neglecting to get treatment could result in permanent joint damage and mobility issues.
Treating your arthritis
Whether your symptoms have developed gradually over time or you suffer from sudden attacks of pain, Dr. Geoghan has the comprehensive treatments you need to get quick, lasting relief.
Before recommending a treatment plan, she conducts a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and orders imaging tests to see the full extent of your arthritis.
Depending on your needs, Dr. Geoghan may suggest any of the following treatments:
- Healthy weight loss
- Joint-strengthening exercise
- Physical therapy
- Injection therapy
- Braces and support devices
- Multiwave Locked System (MLS) therapy laser
All of our treatments are non- or minimally invasive, helping you regain mobility and find relief from symptoms quickly.
If you’d like more information, request an appointment online or over the phone to get started with your arthritis treatment.
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Your feet bear a lot of weight. Even if you’re fit, every pound puts pressure on your poor soles. That’s why they feel so tired at the end of a particularly taxing day. But, there’s a difference between the occasional aches and serious pain that doesn’t go away. If your feet are chronically stiff and painful, arthritis may be the culprit.
Our expert team at City Podiatry will carefully diagnose the source of your foot pain and offer several effective treatment options. When it comes to arthritis , there’s no cure, but there is hope for living with reduced pain and more mobility.
What’s happening inside your arthritic feet
Once you understand arthritis, you’ll understand why it’s causing you so much discomfort. Basically, arthritis is damage or deterioration of your joints. Whether you have rheumatoid arthritis (the kind where your body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue in your own body) or osteoarthritis (the kind that happens with normal wear and tear), the result is the same. With both types, you lose the protective cartilage in your joints.
Considering the fact that you have 28 bones and 30 joints in each of your feet, there are plenty of opportunities for arthritis to settle in and wreak havoc.
Living with arthritis in your feet
While there’s no known cure for arthritis, there are ways to reduce the pain. Depending on the type of arthritis you have and how advanced it is, we can make you more comfortable and help you improve the quality of your life as you live with the disease.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, we can prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that block inflammation and slow down the deterioration of your joints.
There are several DMARDs available, and our evaluation of your condition will help us determine which one is best for you.
If you have osteoarthritis, we’ll start you on a regimen of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help relieve your pain. You may know these better by their brand names: Advil®, Motrin®, and Aleve®.
Whenever your body is under attack by something foreign, such as a virus or cancer, your body produces antibodies, or white blood cells, to attack them. Scientists have discovered that they can produce a substitute called a monoclonal antibody in a laboratory that will attack the culprits that cause your rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re a good candidate, we can prescribe these antibodies.
Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatories that can greatly reduce your arthritis pain. However, it’s not safe to take them over a long period of time, so we recommend them only as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Being overweight makes your arthritis worse, especially in your feet. Every pound above your ideal weight puts an extra eight pounds of pressure on the joints in your feet. That’s why it’s important to adhere to a healthy diet and exercise routine or begin a medically supervised weight-loss program if necessary. As you shed pounds, you’ll notice a marked difference in your painful feet.
While you’re working on reducing your pain, you might as well be comfortable. We can recommend the right styles of shoes to wear that will give your feet enough wiggle room to keep them from getting pinched or cramped. We may also prescribe special orthotic inserts that will give you extra support and padding.
If you have arthritis in your feet or think you might, there’s no need to suffer. Contact us today for an appointment!
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Medications to Treat Foot Arthritis
Different drugs are used to treat foot pain from arthritis and related conditions.
Medications to ease pain and inflammation, slow bone loss, slow disease progress or prevent joint damage are important in treating many foot problems that cause pain. Medications used to treat arthritis and related problems that affect the feet depend on the condition. Here are the types of medications commonly used to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Including more than a dozen different drugs, some of which are available without a prescription, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to help ease arthritis pain and inflammation. They are used for all forms of arthritis. Most NSAIDs are taken orally, but topical preparations are available that can help foot pain, such as Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel and Pennsaid.
Corticosteroids. These quick-acting drugs, similar to the cortisone the body produces, are used to control inflammation. If inflammation is due to a systemic inflammatory disease, your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids. If inflammation is limited to one or a few joints, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid preparation directly into the joint.
Analgesics. Analgesics, which include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and opioids, are commonly used for arthritis in the foot and other joints. They also may be used to relieve pain from other foot problems or surgery. Unlike NSAIDs, which target both pain and inflammation, analgesics are designed purely for pain relief. They may be a better option for people who are unable to take NSAIDs due to allergies or stomach problems, for example. Opioids, available only by prescription, are typically used short-term. They may be appropriate for longer-term use under the direction of your doctor, but they have significant side effects, including dependency and addiction.
Other topicals. A variety of salves, creams, gels, patches and other topical treatments contain various active ingredients to relieve pain. Sold as Aspercreme, Ben-Gay, Capzasin-P, Eucalyptamint, Icy Hot and others, they are often effective for foot pain in muscles and soft tissues that are not too deep from the skin’s surface.
Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs. These are drugs that work slowly to modify the course of inflammatory disease. Different disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be useful for a number of different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriatic arthritis, all of which can affect the small joints of the feet.
Gout medications. Gout attacks often occur with a painful, swollen big toe or other joint. Some medications for gout are designed to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood to prevent future attacks of joint pain and inflammation. Others are designed to relieve the pain and inflammation of an acute attack. Many people with gout take both types of medication.
Biologics. These work systemically to change the course of disease, which may cause pain in the ankles and feet as well as other joints. A number of biologics and copycat versions called biosimilars are approved to treat several forms of inflammatory arthritis and related conditions, but not osteoarthritis. Unlike DMARDs, which work to suppress the immune system, each biologic blocks a certain step in the inflammation process without suppressing the entire immune system. In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, certain biologic agents may be used in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus and psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoporosis medications. Osteoporosis medications are those used to slow the loss of bone or help the body build new bone. Although they are not used specifically to treat foot problems, strong bones are less prone to fracture. In people with osteoporosis, even stepping off a curb can fracture bones in the foot.
For some people, the foot is the first area of the body to present with signs and symptoms of RA. For others, it may be months, years or they may never experience any foot problems at all. There are many ways that RA can affect the feet.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the commonest type of inflammatory arthritis. Up to 90% of people with this condition will report associated foot problems. For some people, the foot is the first area of the body to present with signs and symptoms of RA. For others, it may be months, years or they may never experience any foot problems at all.
Musculoskeletal signs and symptoms in the feet:
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that you may experience in your feet can vary from soreness, warmth and swelling (a flare) of one or more foot joints that last a few days or longer, through to joint erosions, with joint instability, pain and associated changing foot shape. It should be stressed that with the advent of improved and earlier drug therapy, the ‘classic’ changes to foot shape as a result of RA, should become less common. However, if you experience any new foot pain, changes in joint shape, nodules, swelling or inflammation you should seek urgent attention from your rheumatology Health Care practitioner, (Rheumatology Specialist Nurse, Podiatrist, GP or Consultant).
The joints which are most commonly affected in RA are the smaller joints of the toes, the ‘metatarsophalangeal (MP) joints’ in the forefoot, the ‘subtalar’ joint and less commonly, the ankle joint.
The diagram below shows where the main joints of the feet are shown in the diagram below:
Symptoms of joint pain and swelling can impact on a person’s ability to undertake their usual daily activities, and it is recommended that exercise should be reduced when you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of an acute ‘flare’. Treatment aimed at reducing painful symptoms, supporting the joints of the feet and improving foot function is usually via the use of appropriate insoles or orthoses, and it has been found that the early use of orthoses, together with successful medical management, can slow the development of joint changes.
RA can cause bursae; (fluid-filled sacs) that develop as a result of excessive rubbing in a particular area that can become inflamed (bursitis) and painful. Bursa can often be found under the ball of the foot affected by RA. Treatment for this type of bursa usually involves reducing pressure over the ball of the foot with the use of insoles or orthoses.
The photograph above shows the appearance of bursa across the balls of the feet.
In some people with RA, nodules may form in the soft tissues that may be susceptible to rubbing from hosiery and footwear. Common sites for these nodules in the feet are:
- over the Achilles tendon
- in the heel pad and
- over any bony prominences.
The photograph below shows the appearance of nodules.
Skin and Nail problems:
Shape changes in the front of the foot and the toes can create pressure sites that develop corns and calluses (hard skin). These may develop into areas of ulceration if not treated appropriately, and so it is advisable to request podiatry guidance if hard skin or corns are present on your feet. Professional guidance should always be sought with regard to self-treatment of hard skin and corns – you are advised not to use pedicure blades, corn plasters and paints on these areas. The reason for not using these is that they can remove good skin and cause breaks in the skin which bacteria can then invade and cause a serious infection.
The photograph below shows a hard corn (left picture) and callus (right picture) on the ball of the foot.
Circulation and nerve problems in the lower limb:
Some people with RA can experience decreased blood supply to feet and legs associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to cramp-like pains in your calf, thigh or buttock muscles when walking and other circulation related disorders such as Raynaud’s phenomena where the small blood vessels in the skin of the hands and feet ‘shut down’ in response to changes in temperature leading to the following colour changes: toes/fingers go white, then blue and then red. These colour changes may also be accompanied by a tingling sensation in the affected areas. In rare cases people with RA can develop a skin rash, that may ulcerate, known as ‘vasculitis’ – an inflammation of the blood vessels. This is usually associated with long term disease, and the risks of it occurring are increased by smoking.
Some people may experience problems with the nerve supply to their feet known as Peripheral Neuropathy (this can be caused by vasculitis as the small blood vessels that feed the nerves can be damaged, thus leading to abnormal nerve function). This may mean that they cannot feel pain or other sensations such as temperature (hot or cold) and pressure, or they may experience ‘pins and needles’ in certain parts of their feet as a result of a trapped nerve.
The above are types of problems that are less common, and hopefully, you may never experience them, but you should be aware of the symptoms if they arise and inform your rheumatology Health Care Practitioner responsible for monitoring your rheumatoid arthritis.
Medicines in rheumatoid arthritis
We believe it is essential that people living with RA understand why certain medicines are used, when they are used and how they work to manage the condition.
Find out how to manage chronic arthritic symptoms to keep you on your toes!
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1 percent of the population, mostly affecting women between the ages of 40 to 60. If you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis then you probably are looking for answers regarding your condition and what you can do to improve the health of your feet.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
This chronic, autoimmune disorder targets joints anywhere on the body, but mostly the hands and feet. Approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with this form of arthritis will develop foot or ankle symptoms at some point during the course of their disease.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Since this is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system actually attacks your body’s own tissue, causing inflammation and swelling of the joints. Those with rheumatoid arthritis also experience pain and stiffness in the feet and hands. While other forms of arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis) only affect one joint, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the exact same joints in both feet.
Different deformities (e.g. bunions; claw toes) and other problems may also develop, depending on what foot joint the rheumatoid arthritis inflicts.
What are the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis?
While there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are a variety of treatment options available to our patients to help reduce their symptoms and keep them living full, active lives. Certain medications can be prescribed to stop the immune system from attacking the joints.
Here are the most common types of orthopedic treatment options we recommend; however, remember that these treatments will not slow down or stop how the disease progresses, but it will help you to manage your symptoms:
Rest: This means reducing any movements or actions that make your rheumatoid arthritis pain worse. If you are naturally an active person, you may want to opt for lowimpact activities like swimming, which takes pressure and impact off the joints in the foot.
Antiinflammatories: Certain overthecounter antiinflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and inflammation. However, if your symptoms are severe then it might be time to talk to your podiatrist about prescribed pain relievers.
Icing: Apply an ice pack to the swollen, stiff joints for about 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day. Icing can be particularly effective after you have finished any kind of physical activity.
Orthotics: If you experience a lot of issues walking or find that certain parts of your feet ache, then it might not be a bad idea to talk to your podiatrist about customized shoe inserts that can help correct foot deformities and take pressure off certain areas of your feet.
If there is severe joint damage, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the issue. There are different types of foot surgeries to accommodate different rheumatoid arthritis issues and your podiatrist would be happy to sit down and discuss your surgical options.
If you have any questions about rheumatoid arthritis, call your podiatrist today!
Have you been diagnosed with arthritis? You may think the condition is more common as you get older, but surprisingly, almost two-thirds of those in the U.S. with arthritis are between the age of 18-64.
Perhaps you’re an athlete in your 40s who’s had a traumatic injury to your ankle. At Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute , board-certified Dr. Jeffrey McAlister treats foot and ankle arthritis , most often caused by post-traumatic arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis, and sometimes from rheumatoid arthritis.
More than 100 different types of arthritis exist, but the two that are found most frequently are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Post-traumatic arthritis occurs when a joint eventually wears out because it’s suffered a previous traumatic injury from any number of sources — a fall, a car accident, or other cause. The original injury weakens the cartilage and sometimes the bones so the joint develops wear and tear more quickly than it would otherwise.
Even if the ankle heals from the injury, it’s more likely to wear out than an ankle that hasn’t been injured. If you love playing tennis and continue playing after your ankle heals from a traumatic injury, you’re more at risk for post-traumatic arthritis. As with osteoarthritis, symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis include pain, inflammation, and swelling .
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. Your body’s immune system begins to attack your joint tissue, mistakenly thinking it’s an invader. Your joints swell and stiffen. Both types of arthritis can be painful and debilitating. The good news is physical therapy can help reduce pain and increase mobility.
What is the purpose of physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a non-invasive healthcare practice that helps you restore and maintain movement and physical function. For example, it helps you recover after suffering a broken ankle, an ankle replacement, or a bunion operation performed by Dr. McAlister.
Your physical therapist, a highly trained medical professional, assesses your individual needs, and develops an exercise and strengthening program to help you regain mobility, improve balance and flexibility, and decrease the physical pain.
During physical therapy, your therapist leads you through a variety of exercises designed to strengthen the muscles supporting your joints, help improve balance, increase mobility, and reduce pain. Physical therapy can also help prevent re-injury.
How can physical therapy help control my arthritis symptoms?
It seems counterintuitive, but exercising your injured joint in specific, gentle ways, helps it heal. The old adage, “use it or lose it” applies here. Your muscles and joints can stiffen and atrophy if you’re not moving.
For foot and ankle injuries, your physical therapy will likely involve the following types of modalities and exercises:
- Ice and heat
- Stationary biking
- Wobble board work
- Slant board stretches
These practices help reduce stiffness and pain. They get your blood moving which helps increase flexibility and movement. They also strengthen muscles which help relieve pressure on your joints.
Physical therapy doesn’t stop when you complete each appointment. Dr. McAlister emphasizes the importance of performing the exercises each day at home. Exercising once or twice a week during your physical therapy session is not enough to build strength or decrease your pain. As you start to show improvement, Dr. McAlister may change up your exercise routine to further improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
For more information on how physical therapy can help improve mobility when you have arthritis, contact our office to book an appointment today.
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Foot & Ankle Arthritis Treatments in Chicago & Wheeling IL
Arthritis Treatments in Chicago & Wheeling IL
In the United States alone, over 54 million people suffer from a type of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. For the 23% of Americans living with arthritis, learning how to manage and relieve the symptoms is of the upmost importance. While there’s currently no cure for arthritis, there are many effective treatments available to slow the progression of the condition, prevent joint damage and relieve pain. Here at Global Podiatry, we provide a range of treatments for patients suffering from arthritis in Chicago & Wheeling, IL.
If arthritis in your foot or ankle is causing you pain and limiting your movement, then please get in touch with our specialist team. We can help to diagnose and treat the condition, as well as give you expert advice on how to reduce pain and start enjoying a more active lifestyle.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that causes the surfaces of the joints to break down, resulting in painful inflammation in the joints. The condition becomes more common with older age as years of wear and tear begin to damage the cartilage that covers joint surfaces and helps joints move without pain or friction.
Arthritis also more common among athletes and among people who are overweight. Osteoarthritis is one of two major forms of arthritis; the second form is rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that develops when the immune system begins attacking and destroying the joint tissues. There are other less common forms of arthritis as well, all of which cause joint tissue destruction.
Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or posttraumatic arthritis, our skilled podiatrists can provide the advice and treatment services in Lincolnwood & Wheeling IL that you need to successfully manage pain.
What symptoms does arthritis cause?
The most common symptom of arthritis is any pain in the joints, especially when the joints are moved or when pressure is applied. Stiffness and a decreased range of motion also occur as the joint becomes less flexible. Without treatment, joints can become swollen and deformed, and they may feel warm to the touch.
The degree to which patients experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary. Some people will experience severe tenderness and pain, while the discomfort for others will be mild. In some cases, osteoarthritis can cause boney protrusions to develop, resulting in more pain and further decreasing joint movement.
Posttraumatic arthritis is another type of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankles. This type of arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that typically develops after an injury to a joint, such as an ankle fracture. Over time, the damage that the injury causes to the cartilage can result in accelerated wear. It’s possible for people to develop posttraumatic arthritis years after an injury.
How does osteoarthritis affect the feet?
Arthritis in the feet often affects the big toe joint. Sometimes, arthritis develops here as a result of normal wear and tear, and sometimes it occurs when the joint is damaged by another condition, like bunions. In addition to the big toe, the ankle joint and the joints between the bones of the midfoot region can also develop arthritis, resulting in pain and stiffness when walking and, in more advanced cases, even while resting.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
When you visit Global Podiatry to have foot pain diagnosed in Chicago & Wheeling, IL, your podiatrist may begin with a discussion about your medical history and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You’ll be asked questions about your pain, such as when it started, when in the day the pain is worse and the location of the pain.
Afterwards, your podiatrist will carefully examine your foot, checking for pain and swelling and assessing your mobility. Your podiatrist may order additional tests, including imaging tests like an x-ray or CT scan to assess the severity of your condition, and blood tests, which can reveal more information about your type of arthritis.
An important aspect of the exam is gait analysis. During this analysis, your podiatrist will assess your gait, ankle strength, and the position of your bones as you walk. How you walk during the exam will tell your podiatrist a lot about the severity of your condition.
How is arthritis treated?
Foot and ankle arthritis is managed conservatively when possible using medication to decrease pain and swelling. Ice and heat therapy and gentle stretching may also help. When these conservative approaches don’t work, surgery may be necessary to remove bone spurs or to fuse the joints to prevent painful friction.
Before considering surgery, a podiatrist may also advise that osteoarthritis is treated with other conservative treatments, such as:
- Physical therapy to reduce the risk of injury and improve stability by strengthening key muscles.
- Custom orthotics to increase comfort by cushioning the feet or to improve function by supporting the feet.
- Steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
- Braces to lower the risk of deformity by increasing joint support and restricting movement.
- Casts to immobilize the foot and help treat inflammation.
If surgery is required to treat arthritis, the primary goal of the treatment will be to alleviate pain and restore as much function as possible. In cases where the arthritis is so advanced that conservative treatment has proven unsuccessful or is not possible, surgery is often the only other option available. There are many different types of surgery to treat foot & ankle arthritis; some patients may require multiple surgical treatments to see significant improvement. The most common types of surgery, include:
- Arthrodesis – Where the bones in the joint are fused together.
- Arthroscopic Debridement – A removal of bone spurs, inflamed tissue and loose cartilage.
- Arthroplasty – The removal of damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle, which is replaced with plastic or metal.
Recovery after surgical treatment can take up to 9 months. In less severe cases, recovery can take as little as 4 months.
Contact Global Podiatry for Arthritis Treatments in Chicago & Wheeling IL
The trained podiatrists at Global Podiatry are experts in all areas of common foot and ankle conditions, including the different types of arthritis that can cause pain and affect movement in the foot and ankle. Book an appointment at our podiatry clinics in Chicago & Wheeling, IL any day of the week to discuss existing conditions and the arthritis treatment options open to you, or to arrange for an examination with a member of our team to get to the bottom of your foot pain. At Global Podiatry, you’re guarantee an exceptional, personalized service that’s tailored towards helping you to live a pain-free, active lifestyle even when managing conditions like arthritis.
Home > Blog > 6 ways to relieve pain from arthritis in your feet
The best thing you can do to relieve arthritis in your feet is to make an appointment with a podiatrist, who can determine the true cause of your foot pain and prescribe the necessary course of treatment accordingly. Here are six other ways to relieve arthritis pain in your feet.
Wear comfortable shoes
Arthritis often stems from having worn uncomfortable and improperly fitting shoes for an extended period of time. Stop wearing high heels, which place excess pressure on the balls of your feet, and wear comfortable, supportive shoes that are wide enough not to promote or worsen the development of calluses or bunions. You may also want to wear shoes that offer arch support, which can help stabilize joints in your feet that move around more than necessary.
Have your feet massaged
A foot massage can increase blood flow to your feet and often provide relief from arthritis, says Dennis Frisch, DPM, from Boca Raton. If you’re giving yourself a foot massage, start at your toes, and work your way down to the heel, kneading your toes and the balls of your feet thoroughly.
Stretch your Achilles tendons
Stretching your Achilles tendons will help strengthen your feet and improve flexibility and range of mobility, all of which can help provide relief from foot arthritis. Get into the habit of wiggling your toes as often as you can remember, or during commercials when you’re relaxing in front of the television.
Consult with your podiatrist to find out whether orthotics can help relieve arthritis foot pain. Your foot doctor can either provide you with custom orthotic shoe inserts, or recommend the use of a cane or braces to help with pain relief. Frisch reports that some patients can also find relief from arthritis by taping their toes together. If you just need shoe inserts, either purchase them over the counter from a shoe retailer, or have them custom-made by your podiatrist.
Topical treatments and medications
Topical treatments that contain capsaicin can often provide relief from arthritis foot pain, and can be found over the counter at most drugstores under the brand names Zostrix and Icy Hot. Alternately, you may be able to find pain relief by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or ibuprofen. While most over-the-counter treatments are considered safe for use, consult with your podiatrist first before using these treatments for arthritis pain relief.
Though surgery is often viewed as a last resort, your podiatrist may recommend undergoing foot surgery to treat arthritis if no other treatment methods are effective at reducing your pain. Frisch says that the most common foot surgeries for arthritis are joint replacements and joint fusions. Joint replacement is performed when there isn’t enough joint movement, whereas joint fusion is performed if arthritis is stemming from too much movement. Either way, talk to your podiatrist to find out whether foot surgery is ideal for you based on your foot health.
Are you suffering from arthritis or foot pain? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can determine the true cause of your injury and get you back on your feet.
Need help managing foot and ankle arthritis? As we close out National Arthritis Awareness Month, we want to bring attention to the ways this disease affects your feet and ankles. HereвЂ™s what you need to know. Arthritis develops in joints when your cartilage breaks down. And, because your foot and ankle contain 35 joints, theyвЂ™re vulnerable to arthritis.
Now, while we canвЂ™t cure arthritis, we can help you manage your condition. And, as your Spring and Tomball, TX podiatrists, we can also offer pain relief for arthritis in your feet and ankles. Just ask our patient Debra B., who recently shared her experience treating arthritis at Louetta Foot & Ankle Associates!
She says: вЂњBy the time I found the courage to have something done with my feet, I literally couldn’t wear a closed shoe. What I thought were bunions, turned out to be degenerativeВ arthritis–and I had been in excruciating pain with both feet for the last several years.
Having my feet cut on was my greatest fear–I had heard all the horror stories. The day that I had my initial consultation with Dr. Bachmann, I literally broke down in tears–I was that terrified to have surgery but was at a point where I was being forced to do something. I should also add that I spent countless hours looking at podiatrists–so deciding on Louetta Foot & Ankle was not a choice made without an exhaustive search. I could have saved every minute that I spent debating on who I could trust with my feet. To make a long story not quite as long–there truly is NO other Dr. or staff that would have treated me with more compassion, patience and flexibility.”
Surgery for Arthritis at Louetta Foot and Ankle Associates
In her online review, Debra B. continued. “The entire group at Louetta Foot & Ankle are extremely professional and function like a well-oiled machine, but they are also like a family–the perfect mix. And all of them became like family to me–literally there isn’t a bad apple in the bunch. The resulting surgery involved a вЂњfusionвЂќ on my right foot which was more extensive, the left I had caught in time to do a Cheilectomy, more of a “clean up”.
When I saw Dr. Bachmann and the group for my final follow-up, I cried again and once in a while, when I look at my feet, I still get emotional. These tears though, are because I am so grateful to the entire group at Louetta Foot & Ankle–I have no pain and can hardly tell that I had anything done. It’s just amazing. Trust me–if you’re looking for the right place, you cannot go wrong here. Just do it–you’ll be thankful that you did!вЂќ
Now, helping our patients walk without pain is our greatest pleasure. But we also want you to understand arthritis and your treatment options. ThatвЂ™s why, today, weвЂ™ll review the signs of arthritis, the risk factors and the ways we can help you find pain relief.”
Signs of Arthritis in the Foot or Ankle
If youвЂ™ve developed foot or ankle arthritis, you may notice:
- Joint pain
- Instability when you walk or run
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should come into our office right away. When you come in, weвЂ™ll review your medical history. Then, after performing a physical exam, we can take in-office x-rays. Once we read your films, we can diagnose your arthritis and determine the extent of your disease progression.
Treatment Options for Arthritis Pain
If your arthritis pain is mild, we may manage your discomfort and inflammation with over-the-counter medications like Aspirin. Rest, limiting your activities, steroid injections and stabilizing braces can also help you manage your arthritis.
But if your arthritis is more advanced, surgeries like the ones we performed on Debra B. can offer pain relief. Plus, they can help you return to your normal daily activities. According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, you have two surgical options when it comes to treating ankle arthritis,
- Ankle Fusion
With this surgery, we remove cartilage around your ankle joint and attach your leg bone to your foot bone, using plates and screws for the fusion. This surgery prevents any motion in your ankle, so it is a drastic option. But it also gets rid of the pain when you move.
- Total Ankle Replacement
Instead of eliminating your ankle movement, this surgery takes out your damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one. With this surgery, your ankle retains its ability to move. Only now, it does so without pain.
As we said before, your arthritis treatment options depend on the extent of your joint damage. For that reason, we encourage you to come into the office at the first sign of arthritis symptoms in your foot or ankle. So schedule your appointment today and weвЂ™ll help you walk more comfortably tomorrow.
Did you know that your feet can be very much affected by arthritis?
Podiatric surgeon, Dr. Salvatore Guadino talks about the arthritis of the feet.
Did you know there’s over 100 different types of arthritis that affect the foot?
The most common types of arthritis that affect the feet are osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually affects patients over the age of 50. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which attacks the patient’s joint, causing the joint space to be narrow. Osteoarthritis can also affect the mid foot and ankle joints, it causes decreased range of motion in the joints, the patient has pain when he ambulates.
Daria N.: Are there other types of foot arthritis?
Dr. Guadino: We also have rheumatoid arthritis. The interesting thing about rheumatoid arthritis, 90% of the time rheumatoid arthritis starts with symptoms in the foot. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the small joints and usually the same joints on both sides of the body.
Dr. Guadino: Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is kind of interesting because it affects the areas where the tendon and ligaments attach to bone. Most commonly we see psoriatic arthritis in patients with plantar fasciitis.
Dr. Guadino: There’s ankylosing spondylitis which also attacks the areas where the tendon and ligaments attach to bone, causing plantar fasciitis.
Dr. Guadino: In addition, we see a lot of gout. Gout is an increase levels of uric acid, which deposit into the joints. Most commonly affecting the big toe.
Daria N.: So, how can you help patients with arthritic pain?
Dr. Guadino: We often start with conservative treatments. The first conservative therapy would be non-steroidal medication, either prescription or over the counter. This would help reduce inflammation. We often advise a patient before taking the medication to check with their doctors if they have cardiovascular problems or gastrointestinal problems, because it can make it worse.
Daria N.: What if a patient cannot take these drugs?
Dr. Guadino: If the patient is unable to take oral medication, we could start the patient on topical medication. Topical anti-inflammatory medication such as Voltaren. And it has the same effect on reducing pain as the oral medication.
Dr. Guadino: In addition to the oral medication, we have a series of steroid injections, which can reduce the inflammation. The only thing about the steroid injections, we have to be careful because if the patient’s diabetic, it can increase their blood sugars.
Daria N.: Are there any other treatments you may prescribe?
Dr. Guadino: Other treatment options are orthotics. At Deloor Podiatry, we make our orthotics with a computerized scan which tells us where the areas of pain are, so we’re able to reduce the pressure on the patient’s foot and leave them pain free.
Dr. Guadino: In addition to orthotics, we tell the patient to lose weight. To go on a strict weight loss program. As they lose weight, there will be less pressure upon the foot.
Dr. Guadino: We also encourage the patient to start physical therapy, which also helps reduce inflammation and pain on the foot.
Daria N.: Is surgery ever necessary?
Dr. Guadino: Yeah, surgery’s an option, but only and only after all conservative methods have failed. The type of surgery that is done will depend upon the type of arthritis the patient has, the location of the arthritis and the impact the arthritis has on the patient’s life.
Daria N.: What kind of surgeries are available?
Dr. Guadino: Well, at Deloor Podiatry we started doing regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine means we have Rejuvenation treatment injections; rejuvenation therapy injections, where we take blood from the patient’s arm, spin it down and inject the platelets the areas of pain. This is a way for the body to heal itself, and it’s remarkable. We find patients who couldn’t walk, couldn’t ambulate for months to years, are able to go back to work and function within 24 hours. And the interesting thing about it is they leave the OR with a band-aid.
Daria N.: What other kinds of surgeries are available?
Dr. Guadino: There’s other procedures we could do such as ankle arthroscopes, which is we take out all the scar tissue in the joint, allowing the joint to move more freely. If that doesn’t work, we have options of arthrodesis, which is we fuse the joint, or a joint implant.
Daria N.: If you think you may be suffering from foot arthritis, Deloor Podiatry recommends you consider the options Dr. Guadino discussed. After all, getting you pain free and back on your feet is what it’s all about.
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Over the course of a lifetime, our feet and ankles can take a real pounding. Ankles in particular return 50 percent more energy per step than hips and knees, so it’s not surprising that we treat a fair amount of foot and ankle arthritis in our practice at Rebound.
The two most common forms of foot and ankle arthritis are osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear arthritis,” is naturally degenerative. Over the years, the cartilage that covers the ends of our bones simply wears out and becomes frayed, causing inflammation, swelling, tenderness or pain, and a reduced ability to walk and bear weight. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury to a foot or ankle, such as a fracture or dislocation. Post-traumatic arthritis can look a lot like osteoarthritis, and affects patients similarly. It can also take a long time, even years, to present. Compared to hip and knee arthritis, which is more commonly degenerative, foot and ankle arthritis is most commonly experienced post-trauma.
The following are the foot joints most often affected by osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis:
- Ankle: The joint where the shinbone (tibia) and ankle (talus) meet
- Hindfoot: The three joints of the foot that involve the heel bone (calcaneus), the inner mid-foot bone (navicular), and the outer mid-foot bone (cuboid)
- Forefoot: The joint of the big toe and first metatarsal bone
There are surgical and nonsurgical methods to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Nonsurgical methods include:
- Steroid medications injected into the joints
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the joints
- Pain relievers
- Pads or arch supports
- Canes and braces to support the joints
- Inserts that support the ankle and foot
- Physical therapy
- Custom shoes
- Weight control
If you and your doctor agree that surgery is a viable and desirable option, then there are a couple approaches to consider:
- Fusion surgery. This kind of surgery, also called arthrodesis, involves fusing bones together with the use of rods, pins, screws, or plates. After healing, the bones remain fused together.
- Joint replacement surgery. This kind of surgery involves replacing the ankle joint with artificial implants.
Of course, the best way to prevent arthritis in your feet and ankles is to take good care of them in the first place. Here are few ways to care for your feet and ankles:
- Wear shoes proper-fitting shoes that are shaped like your foot
- Wear shoes that have support — for example, no slip-on shoes
- Wear rubber soles to provide more cushioning
- Exercise and stretch your feet and ankles
Here are some exercises you can do to help keep your feet pain-free, strong, and flexible:
- Achilles stretch. With your palms flat on a wall, lean against the wall and place one foot forward and one foot back. Lean forward, leaving your heels on the floor. You can feel the pull in your Achilles tendon and your calf. Repeat this exercise three times, holding for ten seconds each time.
- Big-toe stretch. Place a thick rubber band around your big toes. Pull the big toes away from each other and toward the other toes. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat the exercise ten times.
- Toe pull. Place a rubber band around the toes of each foot, and then spread your toes. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat the exercise ten times.
- Toe curl. Pick up marbles with your toes.
Feet and ankles are formed by numerous bones, muscles, and connective tissues. These respective tissues form joints at various points to allow for optimal movement and flexibility in our lower limbs. When a toe, foot, or ankle joint becomes stiff and pained, it can be difficult for you to perform favorite activities. At the office of Yuko Miyazaki, DPM , we provide an array of treatment methods to help relieve symptoms of the various arthritic conditions.
Understanding Foot and Ankle Joints and Arthritis
Wherever two bones meet is called a joint. Moving joints in your feet and ankles allow you to bend, straighten, flex, and push off the ground to walk, so they are vital for your mobility and independence. Like moving parts in a machine, joints need protective, lubricating substances between the bones to reduce friction and allow each part to move smoothly. Cartilage caps and pouches of fluids serve this purpose. They protect the bones as you move around, so you don’t feel pain while performing normal daily motions, like taking a step.
Sometimes, however, joints deteriorate. They sustain damage from injuries, get infected, or simply wear down after years of pounding and overuse. This leads to inflammation, often causing joint breakdown. Bone grinds on bone, deteriorating all the tissues. This is arthritis.
The word “arthritis” is actually a general term for a couple different diseases. All of them are progressive and can take away your mobility and independence. In your feet, any of the bones can develop arthritic damage, though the big toe and the ankle tend to be particularly vulnerable.
Types of Arthritis in Feet and Ankles
There are several types of arthritis that can develop in feet and ankles, including:
- Osteoarthritis – When people hear the word “arthritis,” this is the condition they typically think about. Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” version most people with arthritis develop over years of repeated stress and use. Slowly, this overuse causes cartilage to deteriorate, allowing the bone tissue underneath to grind directly on another bone. This friction causes increasing pain, irritation, and makes movement more difficult. The more the affected bones rub together, the worse the problem becomes.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Whereas osteoarthritis simply develops from natural wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an immune system disorder. In this condition, the body’s immune system begins attacking the protective joint linings. At this time, medical experts are unsure as to why RA happens.
- Gout –This arthritic condition is unique in the fact it is caused by dietary choices. The core issue with gout—which causes sharp, stabbing pain in the joint where the big toe connects to the foot—is a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is a normal byproduct of food breakdown at the cellular level. It is normally filtered out through the kidneys and expelled in urine. When too much is in the bloodstream, or the kidneys do not filter it properly, the acid deposits into joints—especially the one at the base of the big toe—and crystalizes. These urate crystals have sharp points, which are the source of the sharp pain. Making different dietary choices can be beneficial for managing and preventing the condition from developing.
- Post-traumatic Arthritis – This disease develops after a serious injury that damaged the bones in a joint, like a fracture or a dislocation. The injury disrupts the tissue and creates inflammation. This damages the structures even more. Even if the injury heals, the protective surfaces over your bones are more likely to allow grinding.
Arthritis Treatment Options
Naturally, the specific form of arthritis and its severity will be used to determine what is included in an effective treatment plan. Physical therapy (exercise), medication, hot and cold therapy, and assistive devices (walkers, canes, etc.) all can play a role in conservative care.
Unfortunately there’s no cure for arthritis (yet), but there are various measures you can take to help manage the condition and find relief from symptoms. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications are all beneficial, but other options include:
- Making different footwear choices. You should look for shoes that feature plenty of space for wiggling toes, ample shock-absorbing cushioning for aching heels, and robust support for stiff arches. Rocker-bottom soles, or even arch support inserts , can be helpful.
- Try stretches and exercises for your feet. Getting your feet in shape can help strengthen muscles that support the joints and protect against more wear and tear. You may find that toe, Achilles tendon , and calf stretches are quite helpful.
- Switch to low-impact activity when pain strikes. Lots of high-impact sports, or even just a lot of running and walking, can put lots of stress on your lower limbs. Incorporating activities like cycling or swimming into your routine can give you a great workout without the constant pounding on your feet and ankles.
- Get a massage. Regularly kneading any trouble spots—working from the balls of your feet to the heels—can help improve range of motion, reduce arthritis pain and stiffness, and improve blood flow.
Our hope is to effectively care for arthritic conditions through the use of nonsurgical treatment, but there are instances where surgery is necessary. Most often, this entails either joint replacement or joint fusion to address the condition and provide relief.
If you would like additional information on arthritis and how it can affect your feet and ankles, or if you need to schedule an appointment for diagnosis and treatment, contact the office of Yuko Miyazaki, DPM and we will be glad to help. Call us at 510-647-3744 or use our online form to contact our Berkeley, CA office.