Ask About Steroid Injections
Physicians often use steroids like cortisone to help with the acute inflammatory process and get patients stabilized. Cortisone acts as powerful anti-inflammatory when injected into a joint it can help reduce swelling and inflammation and decrease discomfort. When cortisone is injected, its anti-inflammatory effects begin immediately, but the length of time it takes to experience pain relief can vary from days to weeks. There are a lot of misconceptions about cortisone injections because there are different types of cortisone. Generally, Dr. Sutera says, you can have three cortisone shots in as many months before taking a long break before getting another round.
Arthritis In The Foot And Heel
The foot has thirty-three joints, all of which are extremely susceptible to arthritis. Arthritis is the inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the joints, along with an increase in joint fluid. Arthritis can affect any area of the body, but because the feet are so heavily used, arthritic pain is very common in the heels and ankles.
Arthritis can be caused by a number of different factors. If you have more than two risk factors, you have an increased chance of developing arthritis in the feet and ankles.
How Is Arthritis In Feet Treated
A diagnosis of arthritis does not necessarily mean that your quality of life will decrease. By seeking treatment early and taking an active role in the management of your arthritis, you can control the pain and limit damage to your joints.
Left untreated, however, arthritis can eventually lead to foot and ankle deformities.
A treatment regimen for arthritis in the foot or feet may include nonsurgical therapies and/or surgery. There are many nonsurgical treatment options, and they are often used in combination with one another. These can be divided into three categories:
- A brace or a cane
Physical and complementary medicine
- Physical therapy and gentle exercises
- Acupuncture or massage at and around affected joints
- Application of a heating pad or a damp, warm towel to affected joints
- Weight control
For many types of arthritis, aspirin is used as the first-line treatment, and its success or failure can help guide other therapeutic interventions. Treatment can control inflammation and preserve or restore joint function.
Surgical intervention may be considered as a last resort if the arthritis does not respond to nonsurgical interventions.
The choice of surgery depends on the type of arthritis you have, its impact on the joints, and its location. More than one surgery may be needed. Surgeries used to treat arthritis in the feet include:
- Arthroscopic debridement
- Arthrodesis or fusion
- Arthroplasty or joint replacement
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis Better With Movement
Symptoms Of Toe Arthritis
Arthritis symptoms may come and go or be persistent and debilitating. You may wake up one morning with pain and swelling in one or more toes, or you may notice a gradual progression of mild achiness to increasing discomfort and changes in the appearance of your toes over time.
Your symptoms also will depend in part on the type or cause of your toe arthritis, but typically you will experience:
Arthritis In The Hindfoot
Arthritis in the hindfoot affects the three joints below the ankle and above the heel: the subtalar joint, the talonavicular joint, and the calcaneocuboid joint. Together, these joints allow the foot to have side-to-side movement, as well as other motions, and aid in bearing the weight of the body. Arthritis in these joints can cause pain and swelling in the feet and ankles.
You May Like: Is Ra Curable
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.
- 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 itâs 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
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 , 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 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 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.
Read Also: Arthritic Knee Symptoms
What Are Some Common Symptoms Of Arthritis In Feet
Common symptoms of arthritis in the feet include joint pain or tenderness, joint stiffness or reduced motion, joint swelling, and difficulty in walking.
There are 33 joints in each foot, any of which may be affected. The anatomic areas most commonly affected by arthritis are: the ankle , the hindfoot , the midfoot , and the great toe .
What Causes Arthritis In Feet
Arthritis may develop for a number of reasons and is associated with a variety of illnesses. The types of arthritis that most commonly affect the feet are:
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of foot arthritis, is a condition in which joint cartilage is damaged as a result of wear and tear that occurs over time.
It is also known as degenerative arthritis because it progresses slowly and the associated pain and stiffness generally worsen.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an irritation of the joint lining that results when ones own immune system attacks and destroys cartilage. This inflammatory disease usually affects multiple joints in the body.
Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot, such as a broken bone, torn ligament, or moderate ankle sprain. It may not manifest until years after the injury, and may occur regardless of whether the joint injury was initially treated.
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Up After Surgery
Best Shoes For Arthritis In Feet
Shoes for arthritis are another common way to relieve pain. As EveryDay Health explains:
Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes is key. Shoes should be wide enough so that they dont press on any bunions or calluses. Skip the high heels because they put more pressure on the balls of your feet. Arch support is essential to stabilize joints that are moving more than they should, which can happen with arthritis, explains Frisch. The toning athletic shoes that are popular these days can be a good choice for foot health.
The Arthritis Foundation has given their Ease of Use Commendation to the Gravity Defyer brand. These arthritis shoes help take some of the pressure off your foot and are available in multiple widths, depending on your foot.
It doesnt stop at the shoes. Talk to your doctor about arthritis compression socks that can also help increase circulation and reduce pain. You can also use orthotics, such as pads in your shoes, to help relieve pressure from growths.
How Can I Prevent Arthritis In My Feet
Although it may be impossible to prevent arthritis from developing, the conditions that lead to it can be corrected. For instance, if you have osteoarthritis, correcting any faulty mechanics that lead to the joint not moving properly may prevent further joint damage.
Wearing proper footwear or custom orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist will ensure that the foot and ankle joints are properly aligned. If you have a rheumatic disease, such as gout, controlling your uric acid level can reduce the incidence of the associated arthritis.
Read Also: What Does Arthritis In The Hands Feel Like
Exercise Tips For Arthritic Feet And Ankles
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.
Types Of Foot & Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis, a condition characterized by damage and stiffness of the joints, may affect any of the more than 30 joints in the foot and ankle. The joints that connect the bones of the foot and ankle provide the body with the balance and stability required to stand, walk, and pursue other physical activities.
As arthritis advances, it may damage cartilage, the smooth material lining the ends of bones in the joints. Cartilage allows the foot and ankle bones to move against each other without friction. If cartilage erodes, the bones may begin to rub directly against each other, causing further joint damage and a deep, aching pain, particularly during movement. Bones that rub together may also cause bony growths to develop, which may interfere with joint motion and worsen pain. Over time, joint damage may also lead to stiffness and deformity in the foot and ankle and make walking and other movements difficult.
Read Also: Rheumatoid Psoriasis Skin Rash
Reviews For The Best And Worst Shoes For Arthritis
Experts are united in their low opinion of high heels, defined as heels higher than 2 inches. High heels are bad for everyones feet, and for people with any kind of arthritis, theyre even worse. Theyre hard on the arch and ball of the foot and can wear down joints, says Bryan West, a podiatric surgeon who practices in Livonia, Mich.
Studies show wearing stilettos and other heels contributes to both foot pain and arthritis. Researchers at Iowa State University in Ames measured forces on the knee in women wearing flats and wearing 2-inch and 3.5-inch heels. Women who made a habit of wearing high heels had an increased risk of knee joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis, or OA. Risk as well as the frequency of low back pain rose with the height of the heel, according to their study, presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics.
In a study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, Hannan found that women with a history of wearing high heels also experienced more foot pain later in life than those who opted for healthier shoes.
Kirstens Pick: Earthies, a new line of high heels by earth footwear that features a cupped heel, anatomical arch and cradle toe area to distribute weight evenly.
These can produce the same problems as higher heels, just to a lesser degree. Add a pointy toe and you can have even more discomfort.
Why Its Important To Choose The Best Shoes For Arthritis
Making healthy choices for your feet, much like eating a nutritious diet or getting regular exercise, can add up to big improvements in quality of life, says Marian Hannan, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of musculoskeletal research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging in Boston. People should start thinking of their shoes as a factor they can modify to help minimize pain and maximize their ability to get out and do things.
The wrong shoe worn by someone with arthritis in their hips, knees, ankles or feet can exacerbate existing problems and, down the road, cause damage and complications to many joints beyond the feet, she adds.
The right shoes for arthritis can reduce or eliminate foot pain, which has a huge impact on the bodys function and mobility, says Hannan.
Kirsten Borrink agrees. After years of struggling with foot pain from rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, diagnosed in her 20s, the former teacher started a website and blog, Barking Dog Shoes, which showcases frank reviews of a variety of shoe styles that Kirsten has personally tried. It includes video demonstrations of the author in action.
To help keep you on your feet comfortably, we teamed up with medical experts who weigh in on the pleasing and painful points of 10 different types of shoes, and with Kirsten, who recommends her top picks in each category. Heres to healthier feet!
Recommended Reading: What Does Arthritis In The Back Feel Like
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms In Feet
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in your feet, you may experience additional or more severe symptoms, including:
- Fatigue and fever during flare-ups
- Redness or warmth in the joint
- Swelling of the joints
- Being male, in cases of gout
- Being female, in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
Further, as HealthLine explains, if you wear tight, high-heeled shoes often, you may also be at risk for toe arthritis.
If you have any of these risk factors, and have been experiencing pain, its important to talk to a doctor. Cartilage destruction cant be reversed. Early diagnosis is crucial for treating and managing arthritis.
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 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, .The joints which are most commonly affected in RA are the smaller joints of the toes, the metatarsophalangeal 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 persons 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.
You May Like: Sudden Onset Arthritis
Are There Any Complications
Osteoarthritis can sometimes cause other problems for your feet, which may get worse if the condition isnt treated.
If osteoarthritis in the feet is left untreated, cartilage can wear away completely. This might cause the bones of your foot to join together. When this happens in the big toe, its known as hallux rigidus.
This can make it more difficult to move your big toe and you may have trouble walking. Sometimes bony growths may appear on the top of your toe.
Hallux rigidus and osteoarthritis in your big toe can cause this toe to lean towards your other toes. When this happens, its called a bunion or hallux valgus.
A bony lump can then form on the side of your big toe. Sometimes you might have red or swollen skin over it, and it can also cause hard skin. You might feel unsteady while standing and walking.
Corns and calluses
Corns and calluses can form on your feet in areas where theyre exposed to pressure, or the skin is repeatedly rubbed. This might be because of uncomfortable shoes. Corns are small, hard lumps of skin, and calluses are patches of thicker skin that feel rough.
Corns and calluses can sometimes be caused by other problems with your feet, such as bunions.
Learn About Your Surgery Options
When foot arthritis is severe and conservative treatment options fail, surgical intervention may be an option. One type is a fusion of the big toe joint, which fuses together the two bones that make up your joint. This limits the joints range of motion, helping to eliminate the source of pain. Another option is joint replacement surgery for the toe joints. Both are considered end-game measures, but for people who are healthy enough to withstand surgery, it can allow them to function much better.
Don’t Miss: Coping With Rheumatoid Arthritis