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If your joints are stiff or inflamed for seemingly no reason, you may be suffering from arthritic foot pain. This condition can occur at any joint in the body, including arthritis in the foot. If your feet and ankles are swollen and stiff, you may need to see a Podiatrist in order to determine if you have arthritis. Here is everything you need to know about arthritis of the foot, including foot arthritis symptoms and treatments.
What Is Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with millions of people reporting the condition each year. Over time, muscles and joints get worn down through overuse. The cartilage between bones at the joints wears away. This is what causes arthritic foot pain, bone on bone contact within joints.
Arthritis of the Foot
Sometimes arthritis in the foot is osteoarthritis. Other times it is a more complex form of the disease called gout. A high level of uric acid in the blood causes sodium urate crystals deposits around the joints. This buildup can also occur in the kidneys in the form of kidney stones. Men are more likely to develop gout than women, although it is not impossible for older women to develop the disease. Gout is distinguishable from other arthritis in the foot because of its rapid onset, and distribution of pain and swelling in specific joints of the foot. However, it may be hard to distinguish where your arthritis foot pain is coming from. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis can also occur in the feet and ankles. A Podiatrist can diagnose what type of arthritis of the foot you have.
Foot Arthritis Symptoms
Beyond general foot pain, what are some other foot arthritis symptoms you should be looking for? Signs of arthritis include:
- Joint tenderness when touched
- Pain when moving
- Trouble moving, walking, or putting weight on your feet
- Stiffness, swelling, or warmth at the end of the day
- Pain increasing after a long time resting your feet, such as after sitting or sleeping
There are a few major points in the feet and ankles where arthritis may develop. These are the joint where the ankle meets the shin, the joint where the big toe meets the foot, and the three joints connecting the heel to the inner and outer foot bones. If you notice any of these foot arthritis symptoms in any of those places, talk to a Podiatrist to get a diagnosis.
Treatment of Arthritis in the Foot
There is a wide variety of treatment options for arthritis of the foot available, depending on the type of arthritis you have and how severe it is. Simple lifestyle changes may be all that is needed, such as wearing shoes that fit properly, are not flexible, and have good support. Stretching your feet and ankles, icing or heating the inflamed area, and taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs can all help as well.
Your doctor might recommend additional medications for treatment including steroid medication that is injected into your joints, anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain relievers. Custom orthotics can help offload the joints being stressed and causing arthritic pain. Often a Podiatrist will evaluate your foot type and biomechanical factors leading to your arthritis, and include specific shoe types and models aimed at accommodating your particular type of arthritis.
If your case is particularly bad, you may need surgery. There are two types of surgery for arthritis of the foot. Fusion surgery connects bones with rods or plates. Joint replacement surgery involves replacing joints with metal or plastic. Talk to your Podiatrist about what treatment is right for your foot arthritis symptoms.
Looking for a Doctor Who Treats Arthritis of the Foot?
Diablo Foot and Ankle can help diagnose and treat all types of arthritis in the foot and ankle. Call today to schedule an appointment.