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.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
Risks Of Steroid Injections For Arthritis
There are some risks associated with steroid injections for arthritis. These risks include pain at the injection site, infection, and tissue damage. In some cases, the steroids can also leak into the surrounding tissues and cause side effects such as weight gain, acne, and mood swings. Its important to speak with your podiatrist about the potential risks of steroid injections.
Coping With Arthritic Feet
- Steroid medications to be injected into the affected joints
- Custom-made shoes, shoe inserts, or arch supports to support your ankles and feet
- Physical therapy that includes foot exercises and stretches
Your doctor might recommend surgery if other treatments dont work to manage foot and ankle arthritis. Surgical options might include:
- Arthrodesis: Also called fusion surgery, this involves fusing bones together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. When bones heal, the bones will stay joined.
- Joint replacement surgery: Also called arthroplasty, this surgery is used only in severe cases. The surgeon will take out damaged bones and cartilage and replace them with metal and plastic.
Home remedies you can try to help you cope with arthritic feet include:
- Creams containing capsaicin or menthol: These creams may stop the nerves from sending out pain signals.
- Hot or cold packs in the affected areas
- Gentle exercises, including yoga and tai chi
- Foot massage
Making changes to your lifestyle can also help you to feel better and keep arthritis in your feet from getting worse. Lifestyle changes might include choosing low-impact exercises like swimming rather than high-impact ones , maintaining a healthy weight to keep stress off joints, and reducing or avoiding activities that trigger symptoms in the feet and ankles.
When To Visit A Podiatrist
Because arthritis can affect the structure and function of the feet, it is important to see a doctor of podiatric medicine if any of the following symptoms occur in the feet:
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
- Redness or heat in a joint
- Limitation in motion of joint
- Early morning stiffness
- Skin changes, including rashes and growths
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight can drive up your inflammation. Where body fat is distributed can contribute, as well. For instance, a large waist circumference is typically associated with excess inflammation.
Researchers recognize that there is a connection between inflammation and obesity, although more needs to be learned. At the very least, talk to your healthcare provider to determine the ideal body mass index for your frame, and work toward that goal.
You don’t need to lose a lot of weight to improve inflammation. Reducing your weight by between 5% and 10% significantly lowers your level of inflammation, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
Foot Problems Are Common In Rheumatoid Arthritis Heres What You Can Do About It
Thirty-three: thats how many joints are in just one foot. Each of your feet also contains 26 bones, plus a whole lot of muscles, tendons, and ligaments making them a prime target for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory disorder in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of membrane that surrounds your joints. It tends to target smaller joints first, such as those in your hands and often, your feet. In fact, more than 90 percent of people with RA will develop pain, stiffness, swelling or other symptoms in the foot and ankle over the course of the disease, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. You can read here about common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
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Medications For Psoriatic Arthritis In Your Feet
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat psoriatic arthritis in the feet. They range from oral medications that reduce inflammation and swelling to injected or infused biologic drugs that help the immune system fight the disease. The medication prescribed typically depends on severity of symptoms.
It can often take several tries to find the right treatment, according to members of MyPsoriasisTeam. Praying to find the right meds that will work for me long term. Ive had many that work for a short time, but after a few months, they just stop working, said one member.
Arthritis In Feet: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Arthritis of the foot is inflammation and swelling of the synovium, the soft tissue and lining of the joints in the foot. An increase in the fluid within the joints is usually present as well. One or both feet may be affected.
This condition can develop at any age, but is most common in people over the age of 50. Arthritis currently affects almost half of the adult population in the United States, and its prevalence is increasing:
Although arthritis is a well-known cause of joint pain, arthritis in the foot or feet may not cause symptoms. On the other hand, some people with arthritis in the feet become disabled and unable to walk.
Because the feet bear the weight of the body, it is impossible for arthritis sufferers to avoid the foot pain that accompanies load-bearing, and for this reason the feet seem more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body.
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What Is Treatment For Arthritis In The Feet
There is no cure for arthritis, but the pain associated with it can be reduced drastically for some patients. The goals of treatment are to:
- Manage symptoms
- Control inflammation
- Preserve or restore joint function
Many patients find the best foot arthritis treatment is one that uses a number of complementary therapies to find relief. A combination of natural treatments, such as orthotics and exercises, along with medication and interventional strategies can help you get back to your life.
Home Remedies For Foot Arthritis Pain
When you have arthritis in your foot or ankle, one of the most important things is to wear comfortable shoes. Look for these details:
- Shoes shaped like your foot
- Shoes with good support
- Rubber soles for more cushioning
- Proper fit ask a salesperson for help
Exercise can help keep your feet strong, flexible, and pain-free. Moves that can be good for your feet include:
- Achilles stretch. Face a wall with your palms flat against it. Step one foot forward and one foot back. Lean forward, keeping your heels on the floor. Feel the pull in the Achilles tendon and calf of your rear leg. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times on each side.
- Big-toe stretch. Put a thick rubber band around your big toes. Use your muscles to pull them away from each other and toward your other toes. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Toe pull. Put a rubber band around the toes of each foot, and spread your toes. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Toe curl. Pick up marbles with your toes.
Other home remedies for arthritis are:
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can have side effects like stomach irritation, so check with your doctor before taking them.
- Creams with menthol or capsaicin, which may stop your nerves from sending pain signals
- Putting heat or cold on the area
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Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis In The Feet
Because theres no definitive test for psoriatic arthritis in the feet and symptoms are similar to other forms of inflammatory arthritis some members of MyPsoriasisTeam go months, even years, before receiving a correct diagnosis. My feet are my worst part, with so much pain in one deformed foot, said one member who waited more than a year to get a diagnosis. A 2018 study found about 30 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis waited more than five years for a diagnosis after symptom onset.
In my experience PsA can be difficult to diagnose unless you have all the standard symptoms, pointed out one MyPsoriasisTeam member. I was told if blood tests come back negative, it doesnt mean you dont have it.
Early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of foot PsA is critical to preventing disease progression. Delaying treatment by as little as six months can result in permanent joint damage.
Your doctor will take a medical history, and may order a physical exam, blood tests, an MRI scan, and X-rays of joints. They may also refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis. I went to podiatrists and orthopedic doctors trying to figure out what was happening, explained one member. All of their treatments failed. My primary doctor took one look and said, Something else is going on. Im referring you to a rheumatologist.
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Feet
If you suffer from foot arthritis, youll likely experience the following signs of arthritis:
- Pain with motion
- Difficulty bending the joint
- Locked joints, in severe cases
For those with arthritis in toes, putting on shoes can be difficult. For others, getting out of bed in the morning can cause excruciating pain. The growths associated with arthritis can even change the shape of your feet. Simply put, foot arthritis can be a serious, debilitating condition that negatively affects your overall quality of life. Thankfully, there are some ways to ease symptoms, as well discuss later.
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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects The Feet
Joints are covered with a lining called synovium. Its job is to lubricate the joint so it moves more easily. RA causes an overactivity in this lining. The synovium becomes inflamed, thickens, and produces an excess of joint fluid. That extra fluid along with the inflammatory chemicals released by the immune system causes swelling, damages cartilage and softens the bone within the joint. A systemic disease, RA also affects ligaments and surrounding soft tissue, says Brett Sachs, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon in Colorado. When that happens, the joints start to weaken and thats when the deformities can occur, explains Dr. Sachs, who is also a fellow member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the joints in your feet more quickly in part because they are smaller, says Dr. Sachs. Research shows in about 20 percent of RA patients, foot and ankle symptoms are the first signs of the disease.
Changes In The Shape Of Your Foot
Flatfoot deformity a progressive flattening of the arch of your foot can occur in rheumatoid arthritis, when tendons, ligaments, and bones shift out of their normal positions, causing pain and discomfort along inside or outside of your ankle. If RA damages ligaments that support the top of your foot, your arch may also collapse, which can cause the front of the foot to point outward, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Shape changes in the front of the foot and toes can create pressure sites that then develop calluses, or areas of hard thickened skin. All of these changes in the shape of the foot can make it very difficult to comfortably wear shoes.
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Wear Supportive Shoes For Foot Pain Relief
Comfortable, supportive shoes are key for arthritis in the feet. Shoes should be wide enough so they dont press on any bunions or calluses. Skip the high heels if you have big toe joint pain as 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.
“Their rocker-bottom soles do some of the work that the foot doesnt want to do, he says.
Circulatory Problems With Ra In The Feet
Some common circulatory issues in your feet that can result from RA include:
- Atherosclerosis. Also called hardening of the arteries, this happens when your arteries become narrow from plaque buildup. This can cause pain and cramps in your lower leg muscles.
- Raynauds phenomenon.This happens when blood is partially or fully blocked from reaching your toes. This results in blood vessels spasming and causing numbness, and abnormal color changes in your toes from white to blue to red. The toes can feel cold due to decreased blood flow.
- Vasculitis. This happens when your blood vessels get inflamed. This results in skin rashes, ulcers, and other possible symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
RA cant be fully cured. But there are plenty of treatments to help relieve the symptoms of a flare-up, as well as reduce the number of flare-ups and prevent joint damage.
Here are some of the most common treatments for RA in your foot:
Here are a few tips to help relieve RA symptoms in your foot:
See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following symptoms of RA in the feet or elsewhere in your body:
- swelling in your feet or ankles
- skin ulcers on your feet or ankles
- foot pain that gets worse over time
- severe foot pain that makes it difficult to walk or do any activities with your feet
- losing range of motion in your foot or legs
- persistent, uncomfortable tingling or numbness in your feet
- abnormal weight loss
- persistent, abnormal exhaustion
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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
How Can I Treat Foot Or Ankle Pain When It Starts
Most foot or ankle pain can be treated without the need to see a healthcare professional.
Soft-tissue injuries should begin to improve over the first few days with the help of some simple self-care tips. You may need to be careful and protect the injured area for several months, until it has fully recovered.
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Other Treatments For Psoriatic Arthritis
Members of MyPsoriasisTeam also use several nonprescription treatments to alleviate PsA pain, including ice and topical painkillers, and lifestyle changes to their diet and exercise habits.
- Topical painkillers Icy Hot with lanolin helps my feet. The sprays are great for sleeping, shared one member.
- Ice Rolling your feet on a small bottle of frozen water wrapped in a towel or applying ice packs to sore areas can help reduce inflammation in feet joints.
- Apple cider vinegar I soak in 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and water every other day for 15 minutes. Its an anti-inflammatory that helps soothe my feet, one member said.
- Diet and exercise Adopting a healthy diet and gentle exercise program can help manage symptoms and contribute to overall well-being. Members say losing weight helps them keep stress off their joints. Slow gentle movement, such as yoga and tai chi, as well as physical therapy, helps build strength, reduce stiffness, and maintain foot mobility.
Always speak to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program.