When we think arthritis, we expect pain in the hands, hips, and knees, but it can affect any joint in the body, including the toes, feet, and ankles.
Between the bones in healthy joints is a connective tissue known as cartilage that acts as a shock absorber during movement. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage deteriorates, allowing the bones to rub against one another, resulting in inflammation and pain. Arthritis of the foot can result in a loss of strength, flexibility, and function, as well as a decrease in mobility.
Given that our body weight presses down on our feet with each step, it is not surprising that joint degeneration occurs over time. Approximately fifty percent of people in their 60s and 70s develop arthritis in their feet.
In addition to getting older, being overweight and having a family history of arthritis in the feet can increase your risk. Women who have worn high heels for an extended periods may also be at increased risk.
Besides osteoarthritis, gout is another type of arthritis that can affect the big toe and make it painful to push off the ground when walking. With gout, high levels of uric acid accumulate in the blood and sodium urate crystals form around the joint of the big toe, causing pain.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in the feet?
When you move the joint or touch it, you might experience pain. You may experience difficulty walking, moving, or putting weight on it. After resting, while sleeping or sitting, you might experience joint stiffness, warmth, or swelling, or even more pain and swelling.
What can you do to treat arthritis in the feet?
There are numerous ways to alleviate the pain associated with foot arthritis. Pain relievers can alleviate discomfort, while anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce joint swelling but these can cause other problems, especially when taken long term.
When you have arthritis in your foot or ankle, one of the most important things is to wear comfortable shoes. Therefore, it is essential to wear properly fitting shoes with support (no slip-ons) and rubber soles for cushioning or use orthotic inserts to improve foot function and support your ankle and foot.
You can contact us at the clinic if you are uncertain about the suitability of your footwear or if you would like more information on the proper fit of shoes or how orthotics can improve your comfort and mobility. We can help you find the ideal match and get you discounts on footwear.
A few adjustments to your daily routine can help you feel better and may prevent the progression of your arthritis.
Try to limit engaging in certain activities if they cause an attack or flare-up of your symptoms. Try low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling in place of high-impact ones like jogging. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on your joints.
Stretching the Achilles tendon and toes and other exercises can improve strength and flexibility. We can prescribe exercises specifically to help with your problem.
If you need to lose weight, doing so will also lessen your pain from arthritis.
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Other treatment options that we can offer are joint mobilisation, orthotics, strapping, shockwave and steroid injections, all of which can significantly reduce pain and inflammation and increase your comfort and mobility.
For those patients that have significant arthritis and symptoms which are not improving with other treatments surgical referral can be a good option to restore their mobility and quality of life and we can help with making that decision and with any post operative care required.
Please call us on 01565 655840 or complete the form below if you would like more information.