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How Can You Treat Arthritis in the Feet?

Osteoarthritis in the feet can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and the inability to walk. It happens when inflammation and injury to the joints cause the cartilage to break down over time. Your bones grind together, causing pain and swelling. The joints at your heel, big toe, and ankle commonly experience osteoarthritis.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid leads to deposits of monosodium urate crystals around your joints, often causing pain in the big toe.

Other types of arthritis, including rheumatoid and post-traumatic arthritis, can cause pain in your feet, too. In serious cases of arthritis, surgery to fuse the bones or joint replacement surgery may be the only treatment option. But nonsurgical treatments are also available. Read on to learn about them.

Injections and oral medications

Injections of steroids control inflammation, such as that which happens with rheumatoid arthritis. If you have multiple joints affected by inflammatory arthritis, oral steroids may be best. But if you’re having a flare-up in just one or two joints, Dr. Roberto may inject corticosteroids directly into the affected areas.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen and naproxen also help relieve pain. Gout pain often responds well to NSAIDS. Topical pain-reducing rubs can also offer relief.

Physical therapy exercises

When you have arthritis, especially in the feet, you may shy away from exercise for fear it will aggravate pain, but certain exercises can actually improve function. Try Achilles and big toe stretches and training your toes by picking up a towel or marbles with your them. These exercises improve mobility and range of motion in your feet.

Proper footwear

The right shoes support your feet, fit properly, and feel comfortable. Choose shoes that are shaped like your foot and support it. Make sure they tie or buckle, rather than slip on. You benefit from rubber soles for cushioning and stiff soles for minimized pressure.

Lifestyle changes

Something as simple as switching from high-impact activities like jogging to lower-impact options like the elliptical trainer lessens stress on your foot and ankle and relieves pain.

If you’re overweight, you may also benefit from weight loss. Carrying extra pounds puts more pressure on your joints, increasing pain and decreasing function.

Braces and canes

A cane or specially-designed foot brace can take pressure off tender, swollen joints. A cast or removable cast-boot protects your feet from excessive movement, allowing inflammation to resolve. Shoe inserts, or orthotics, especially ones that are custom-made for you, can also support a sore foot, ankle, or toe.

If you find that nonsurgical treatments don’t relieve the pain from arthritis in your feet, Dr. Roberto may suggest surgery. Several types of surgery address serious cases of arthritis. The procedures range from cleaning the arthritic joint to eliminating painful motion at the joint to replacing the joint with an artificial one -- or combining all of these.

Don’t let foot arthritis severely impact your ability to exercise or even walk. Come to Achilles Foot Care to learn about treatment options and support for your condition. Call one of the offices in Monroeville or Delmont, or book an appointment online.

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