Types Of Foot And Ankle Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis, but arthritis in the foot and ankle is usually one of three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, often called wear and tear arthritis, develops most often in people over age 50. As cartilage gets worn down with use over time, it can result in pain and stiffness in the joint. Osteoarthritis may develop in an isolated joint or areafor example, in one foot and not the other.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues. This immune response targets soft tissue in the joints called the synovium, resulting in warmth, redness, swelling, stiffness, and pain of the foot and ankle. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis generally develops symmetrically, meaning both feet are affected at the same time.
Post-traumatic arthritis develops in the foot or ankle as a result of injury, even one that occurred long ago. For example, a sprain, fracture, or dislocation in the foot or ankle may damage cartilage, leading to premature deterioration of the joint. Symptoms may appear within a few years, or it may take decades for joint damage to cause pain or limit function.
What Are Symptoms To Look Out For
Neuropathy can feel like burning or tingling, and sometimes also feel like stabbing pain. Sometimes it can also cause weakness and numbness. It can start gradually, moving up from your feet or hands toward your legs or arms. Some people describe it as feeling like youâre wearing gloves or socks even when you arenât. Symptoms can get better with treatment. The specific symptoms depend on which nerves are affected, such as:
- Sensory nerves in the skin that make you feel temperature, pain, or touch
- Motor nerves that control your muscles
- Autonomic nerves that control your bodyâs basic functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion
Cheilectomy For Arthritis In Toes
The most common surgery, cheilectomy, involves removing bone spurs that have formed around joints that have become arthritic. Its typically done when arthritis is in the big toe. It can help relieve discomfort around the joint and improve movement of the joint. The toe may stay swollen for several months, but youll likely experience long-term relief. However, removing bone spurs doesnt address the worn-out cartilage within the joint. So bone spurs often return in the future. This surgery has a high revision rate because youre treating the arthritis as its in progression. So continues to progress. says Dr. Hampton. Youve removed the bad parts of the bone but you dont actually replace the joint.
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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
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.
Use Topical Medications For Arthritis In The Feet
Some people find that topical medications provide relief from foot arthritis pain, Frisch says. Look for topicals with capsaicin, an ingredient found in chile peppers thats believed to decrease the amount of substance P, which transmits pain in the body. Capsaicin is sold over the counter as a cream, ointment, stick, gel, lotion, liquid, or pad and under different brand names, such as Icy Hot and Zostrix.
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Arthritis In The Toes
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Arthritis in the toes is often the result of wear and tear of the cartilage in the toe joints or inflammation of the toe joints. The big toe is most often affected by arthritis, but other toes can also be involved.
Common symptoms of arthritis of the toes may include pain that can take hours or days to resolve and swelling and inflammation in and around the toe joints. Both RA and PsA can cause significant pain and swelling. However, with PsA, the toes become so swollen that they can resemble sausages .
Additional symptoms of arthritis in the toes might include:
- Restricted range of motion due to swelling or cartilage damage
- Development of bone spurs, which can further restrict movement
- Difficulty and pain with bending the toes
- A toe that might bend permanently downward
- Pain that worsens with weight-bearing activityrunning, walking, climbing stairs, etc.
- A bump formation or sore
- Pitted, separated, thickened toenails
- Curling of toeshammertoe or claw toe
What Is Toe Arthritis
Toe arthritis is caused by inflammation of the toe joint. The disease most often attacks the big toe, but the others may be affected as well.
Past injuries or traumas, such as a broken or sprained toe, can cause arthritis down the road. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout may also be to blame.
Risk factors include:
- being overweight
- a family history of arthritis
Women who wear tight, high-heeled shoes for much of their lives may also be at risk for toe arthritis.
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What Causes Hallux Rigidus
For most people, there is no clear cause. Hallux rigidus likely develops because the toe joint experiences a lot of stress when you walk. Every step you take places a force equal to twice your body weight on the toe joint.
Other causes of hallux rigidus include:
- Overuse of the joint, such as in workers who stoop or squat or athletes who stress the joint.
- Injuries, such as stubbing the toe or spraining the joint .
- Genetics, since it can run in the family. It may come from inheriting a particular foot type or way of walking that leads to the condition.
- Osteoarthritis, which is joint inflammation due to wear and tear on the joint.
- Inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Osteoarthritis Of The Big Toe
The most common type of arthritis that affects a persons big toe is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is categorized as a degeneration of articular cartilage in the toe joint, and it can set in for a number of different reasons. Some common causes of arthritic degeneration of the big toe joint include:
Acute Trauma Acute trauma like a toe fracture or dislocation can damage vital structures in the joint and lead to its degeneration.
Related Foot Condition Certain genetic conditions or gait problems can affect the way pressure is distributed to the joint, causing it to break down quicker.
Age Over the years, our toes experience minute trauma with each step we take. That takes a toll on our feet over the decades, and eventually can lead to joint inflammation and arthritis.
Bone Spurs Bone spurs arent all that common in the toe, but if they irritate the toe joint, it can lead to a breakdown of healthy tissue and the onset of osteoarthritis.
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Subtalar Joint Arthritis Symptoms
The symptoms of Subtalar Joint Arthritis include pain in the hindfoot when walking on uneven surfaces, stiffness first thing in the morning and pain that is worse when the weather is cold.
In the early stages of Subtalar Joint Arthritis, patients can find that their symptoms alleviate with activity, but as the condition deteriorates, pain becomes constant. We observe that patients become more inactive due to pain levels, which can contribute to increased body weight which is a challenge as this also worsens the symptoms of Subtalar Joint Arthritis.
Consult A Physical Therapist
Physical therapy absolutely comes into play when trying to manage arthritis foot pain and there are all kinds of PT modalities that can be used to decrease inflammation, including massage, whirlpool, cold packs, ultrasound, and lasers, Dr. Spielfogel says. Once the initial inflammation has been reduced, a physical therapist will develop a program of stretching and strengthening to restore flexibility and improve strength to increase balance and reduce stress on the foot joints.
Dr. Sutera finds that patients in the earlier stages of arthritis benefit the most from physical therapy, as they often still have flexibility and mostly need help restoring their balance.
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Get A Soothing Foot Massage
Ahh … who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? The soothing effects of massage aren’t just great for your back or shoulders. A foot massage may sometimes provide foot pain relief, Frisch says. Knead the balls of your feet as well as your toes, starting at the top and working your way down to the base. You can do it yourself or ask your partner to help you.
Soothe With Ice And Heat
Cold therapy can provide relief for inflamed joints in the wrist. Cold constricts the blood vessels in the muscles, which decreases blood flow to the joint area to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat therapy warms the skin and the joints, which causes blood vessels to dilate, and sends more oxygen and nutrients to the joints and muscles. Try both and see which makes you feel best.
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Subtalar Joint Arthritis Diagnosis
A clinical assessment from a Physical Therapist or a Podiatrist can identify the subjective symptoms of Subtalar Joint Arthritis alongside a physical examination to identify stiffness, reduced range of movement, and pain is sufficient to diagnose Subtalar Joint Arthritis clinically.
Sometimes, a therapist may refer for imaging to confirm the diagnosis, usually done with a simple x-ray. At the same time, an MRI may be requested to rule out other soft tissue pathologies in the hindfoot and ankle joints.
Other Natural Remedies For Toe Arthritis
Lose weight: Any added stress on your feet can make toe arthritis symptoms worse. If youâre overweight, try making some lifestyle changesâlike eating healthier and getting more activityâto help you lose some of the extra weight. It can also help improve circulation to the area.
Add healthy fats to your diet: Fatty acids, particularly omega-3s, can help reduce inflammation and may help limit the symptoms of arthritis. Some studies have also shown that these acidsâDHA and EPAâmay suppress the immune system to limit arthritic flare-ups. Salmon and other fatty fish are the best sources and supplements are widely available.
Try some turmeric:Turmeric is a plant native to India and Indonesia and is a common ingredient in curries. Curcuminâa notably active compound in turmericâmay be able to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness related to RA, OA, and bursitis. You can supplement or try adding more turmeric to your diet.
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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.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Your Feet
Like most other cases of arthritis, having arthritis in your feet can be painful. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Pain when you move your feet or ankles
- Tenderness when you touch affected joints
- Swelling or redness of affected joints
- Difficulty standing or putting pressure on your feet
- Pain or swelling even when at rest
While these symptoms can give you a pretty good idea that you have arthritis, the best way to know for sure is to have a doctor take a look. Your doctor may use imaging technology, such as an MRI, X-rays, or CT scans, to confirm that you have arthritis in your feet or ankles.
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How Is Gout Treated
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Your health care provider may recommend a medical treatment plan to
- Manage the pain of a flare. Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
- Prevent future flares. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting alcohol, eating less purine-rich food , may help prevent future attacks. Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia may also help.
- Prevent tophi and kidney stones from forming as a result of chronic high levels of uric acid. Tophi are hard, uric acid deposits under the skin. For people with frequent acute flares or chronic gout, doctors may recommend preventive therapy to lower uric acid levels in the blood using drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase.
In addition to medical treatment, you can manage your gout with self-management strategies. Self-management is what you do day to day to manage your condition and stay healthy, like making healthy lifestyle choices. The self-management strategies described below are proven to reduce pain and disability, so you can pursue the activities important to you.
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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What Are The Risk Factors For Ra Neuropathy
The chance of having peripheral neuropathy is higher as you grow older and have RA for a longer time. It also depends on how bad your disease is. If you have mild RA, your likelihood of having neuropathy is lower, for example, than it would be for someone with more serious disease. Apart from RA itself, other factors that raise the risk include diabetes, drinking too much alcohol, vitamin deficiencies, activities that require repeatedly doing the same body motions, and family history of neuropathy.
Arthritis In Toes Is Manageable
Your toes contain joints that, like any others in your body, are not immune from arthritis. A variety of factors play a role in your risk for toe arthritis, but there are lifestyle and dietary adjustments you can make to reduce the chances youâll get it.
If youâve been having pain in your toe joint, speak to your doctor about potential causes and treatments.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Oa In The Toe
Even in the early stages, arthritis in the toe can cause tenderness, achiness, and joint pain. You may also feel achiness or pain in other toes or the arch of your foot as you walk.
Over time, you may even develop a burning sensation, which is a hallmark sign of nerve pain, or neuropathy.
An arthritic toe may ache after long periods of sitting or when you first wake up in the morning. Stiffness and pain is typically a sign of OA after long periods of inactivity or immobility.
Overgrowth of the big toe bone can make it difficult or even impossible to bend your toe.
More specifically, in people with OA, the joint degenerates and a reactive bone process is triggered, such as spurs or ankylosing. The excess bone growth can lead to fusion of the joint and a fixed, or non-bending joint. The result is a stiff toe, which is also called hallux rigidus.