Posts for tag: arthritis
Arthritis is a joint condition that affects roughly 54 million American adults according to the Arthritis Foundation. It can show up in joints all around the body, including the feet and toes. When the joints of the feet are affected by inflammation, it affects a patient’s ability to move their toes, bend their feet up or down, and turn on a dime when participating in athletic activities. Learn the steps that you can take to care for arthritic feet and improve your overall foot health.
Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritic joint pain, which is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction, is most commonly felt in the big toe, ankle, and the middle part of the foot. There are many different types of arthritis conditions that could affect the feet, including psoriatic, reactive, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form—it is caused by the bones rubbing together, making the joints feel stiff and painful. Patients who are overweight are more likely to struggle with arthritic feet, as are seniors. Some people have had arthritis since childhood (juvenile arthritis or JA), making them more likely to develop foot deformities like bunions and struggle with swollen joints.
Though arthritis isn’t a curable condition, the symptoms can be eased with treatment so that you can continue to walk, jog, exercise, and work without debilitating pain. These are some of the ways your podiatrist may treat arthritis in the feet:
- An X-ray or other imaging test to examine the condition of the joints.
- Physical therapy exercises to make the joints more flexible.
- Orthotic device or shoe for better foot support.
- Joint injections (corticosteroids).
- NSAID drugs (anti-inflammatories).
- Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the joints (Arthroscopic debridement) or fuse the bones (arthrodesis).
Caring for Your Feet
Seeing a foot doctor is an important part of caring for arthritic feet. But there are also some actions you can take at home to keep your feet and joints in good condition:
- Get rid of shoes that put too much pressure on your joints, like high heels or sneakers that don’t support the ankles.
- Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and massage your feet when relaxing.
- Commit to doing the toe and foot exercises suggested by your podiatrist.
Treating Arthritic Feet
Arthritic feet shouldn't prevent you from carrying on with normal life and physical activities. Get help from a podiatrist as soon as you start to experience symptoms and take extra steps to care for your feet.
You don’t recall twisting or injuring your ankle recently but you are experiencing pain off and on (and sometimes it’s pretty intense) on the outside of your ankle. Your ankle feels weak, like it might give way, particularly when you are wearing high heels or walking on an uneven surface. Your ankle is often stiff and tender and sometimes it swells up. If this describes your symptoms, you may be suffering from chronic lateral ankle pain.
What Causes Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain?
The most common cause of this disorder that we see at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists is a previous ankle sprain. If the sprain did not heal properly or if you did not complete the physical therapy necessary to strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the ankle, it is likely that the ankle will twist again and chronic lateral ankle pain can result. Other possible causes are:
A fracture in one of the bones of the ankle joint
Scar tissue in the ankle from a previous sprain
A inflamed or torn tendon
Inflammation of a joint lining
What Can be Done?
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will need to conduct a thorough examination of your ankle and also get a complete medical history, including any information and medical records of previous sprains. An x-ray or other imaging studies may also be helpful in evaluating the ankle issues. Once the foot doctor knows the extent and cause of your chronic lateral ankle pain, there are a number of treatment options available. The foot doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and possibly steroids to reduce pain and swelling. If a fracture is involved, some period of immobilization may be required. Physical therapy, ankle braces and supports can all help heal and protect the ankle going forward.
Arthritis is a disease that affects your joints. It is defined by inflammation and swelling of the lining of the joints, as well as excess fluid in the joints. Although arthritis can afflict any part of the body, the feet are very susceptible to this disease because there are 33 joints in each foot that can be affected. Also, the pain of arthritis in your feet is the greatest because of the fact that your feet bear the weight of your entire body.
Nearly 40 million Americans have this potentially crippling disease and although people over 50 are most prone to it, it can strike at any age from infancy on.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Arthritis manifests itself both on the inside and the outside of your foot. Stiffness of your joints (particularly first thing in the morning), along with pain and swelling are signs of arthritis, and are usually accompanied by external skin changes such as a rash or redness. The affected joints may also feel hot to the touch.
There are two kinds of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis: This is the most common form of the disease. It is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. Osteoarthritis is degenerative joint disease that occurs as the result of the breakdown of cartilage, which happens as you age. Dull, throbbing pain at night is typical of this type of arthritis. Muscle weakness and deterioration may happen as well. The pain normally gets worse as you get older.
Rheumatoid arthritis: This is actually a complex group of chronic inflammatory diseases that tends to affect smaller joints in the ankles and toes. Rheumatoid arthritis is definitely a more serious medical condition than osteoarthritis with more complicated symptoms and treatment.
A proper diagnosis is the first step to relief. There are many other foot disorders that have joint pain and stiffness as a symptom. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, one of our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will conduct a complete examination of your foot and ankle and will most likely order x-rays to see how far the arthritis has progressed. Your medical history will also help the foot doctor determine the type of arthritis that you are suffering from.
Early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis can slow the course of the disease and limit its damage. Your treatment plan will depend on your individual diagnosis. Common options include anti-inflammatory and steroid medications, physical therapy and custom orthotics. If you are experiencing any difficulties with the joints of your feet or ankles, make an appointment for an evaluation at either our Reading office by calling (781) 944-4044.