Looking After Your Feet
Its important to take care of your feet if you have osteoarthritis in your feet or ankles. A good footcare plan can help reduce the likelihood of you developing other problems that could make your pain worse, such as corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails.
There are a number of things you can do yourself, including:
- washing your feet every day in warm, soapy water dont soak your feet unless you have problems with hard skin or ingrown toenails
- drying your feet well, including in between your toes
- moisturising your feet all over, except for between your toes
- cutting your toenails regularly, cutting straight across the nail doing it at an angle or down the sides could lead to ingrown toenails.
If you have corns or calluses, try:
- soaking your feet in warm water to soften the skin
- using a pumice stone or foot file to remove hard skin
- moisturising your feet to keep the skin soft.
Its a good idea to get your feet checked regularly by your GP or a podiatrist. This is important if you have any problems with your feet that dont get better after a few weeks.
Podiatrists , also known as chiropodists, are specialists in treating foot problems. You can either be referred to an NHS podiatrist by your GP or, in some areas, you can refer yourself.
You could also pay to see one privately. Either way, you should make sure theyre registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council .
When getting new shoes, consider the following tips:
Arthritis In The Heel And Ankle
Several types of arthritis, including OA, RA, AS, and PsA, can affect the heels and the ankles.
Symptoms of arthritis in the heel might include:
- Stiffness upon awakening in the morning
- Recurring pain in the heel
- Swelling of the heel
- Limited movement
- Skin changes, including rashes and growths
Inflammation at the heel from RA, AS, or PsA can lead to conditions that cause heel pain. This might include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or retrocalcaneal bursitis, a condition in which the bursa becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling.
The ankle is not affected by arthritis as often as other joints, but it can be a source of severe pain and instability when it is affected. Additional symptoms of ankle arthritis include swelling and stiffness of the ankle and problems with mobility. Ankle arthritis will eventually affect gaitthe way a person walks.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
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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.
What Happens When Someone Has Jia
People with JIA may have pain and stiffness that can change from day to day or from morning to afternoon. These symptoms can come and go. When the condition becomes more active and the symptoms worsen, its known as a flare or a flare-up.
JIA often causes only minor problems, but in some cases it can cause serious joint damage or limit growth. Although JIA mostly affects the joints and surrounding tissues, it can also affect other organs, like the eyes, liver, heart, and lungs.
JIA is a condition, meaning it can last for months and years. Sometimes the symptoms just go away with treatment, which is known as remission. Remission may last for months, years, or a persons lifetime. In fact, many teens with JIA eventually enter full remission with little or no permanent joint damage.
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Three Ways To Treat Big Toe Pain
Big toe pain caused by RA or gout should be treated by a rheumatologist. A podiatrist can help you find treatments for foot pain resulting from a variety of other causes.
- Shoes: Wear supportive shoes with thick soles and a wide toe box that takes pressure off the big toe. Ditch your high heels. Use arch supports or orthotics. Pad bunions, corns, and calluses to prevent rubbing.
- Pain killers: Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen . Your physician may suggest prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
- Ice:Apply a cold pack for 20 minutes to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Warm footbaths can also soothe achy joints.
If conservative options fail, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid that is injected directly into the joint to reduce inflammation. Surgical alternatives may also be considered.
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
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What’s The Right Footwear When You Have Ra
Narrow-toed or pointy-toed shoes, as well as heels, are bad for the foot as they cause the wearer to put pressure on the ball of the foot and can cause marked deformities, Lightfoot says. An oxford-type shoe with a low heel, wide toe, and high ceiling that will not rub the foot is best.
Good arch support will help distribute the weight evenly on the entire foot, and orthotics special devices put into the shoe can alleviate foot pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and possibly prevent deformities in the foot, Lightfoot adds.
Other Conditions With Similar Symptoms
If any of the above symptoms apply to you, dont jump to arthritis quite yet. Many of those same symptoms apply to other foot-related issues.
Check out some of our other helpful articles to narrow down your causes.
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Long-term issues from ill-fitting shoes that affect circulation or cause joint or muscle damage
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Joint Pain And Inflammation With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Inflamed joints can be eroded and leave a scarred joint the ball of the foot then becomes a rough, bumpy bone, says Robert W. Lightfoot, MD, a professor of internal medicine in the division of rheumatology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “Active inflammation and eroded, damaged bones cause pain.”
What Causes Toe Arthritis
Everything from past injuries , osteoarthritis, gout, or rheumatoid arthritis can lead to toe arthritis.
Common forms of toe arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Lets more closely examine these and other damaging types.
Rheumatoid arthritis is often hereditary and can affect the entire body. This type of arthritis causes the foot arches to collapse and result in stiffness and swelling in the foot. As a result, the toes are generally forced into an uncomfortable, constricted position. Its the most common type of inflammatory arthritis and people who have it will often notice symptoms in the feet and toes.
Osteoarthritis can affect any of the joints in the foot, but it commonly causes arthritis in the big toe at the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP joint. The MTP joint is located at the bottom of the big toe. Toe arthritis can lead to the erosion of cartilage and cause stiffness and pain in the toe. When OA occurs in toes, its usually referred to as hallux rigidus.
Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. In some cases, it can move to the joints where it can affect the toes. Sometimes, psoriasis affects the joints before it spreads to the skin, but that is rather uncommon. If you believe you have psoriatic arthritis, early diagnosis is very important in stopping potential joint damage.
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Get Foot Pain Relief With Arthritis
Need some foot pain relief? If you are older than 60, you may find yourself saying Oh, my aching feet! often. According to the Arthritis Foundation, close to half of people in their sixties and seventies suffer from arthritis foot pain. In fact, the damage starts even sooner: Beginning in your forties, your feet begin to show wear and tear, explains Dennis Frisch, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Boca Raton, Florida.
Arthritis is inflammation in or around the joints that results in swelling, pain, and stiffness. It can generally be divided in two categories:
- Osteoarthritis and other wear-and-tear types of arthritis
- Inflammatory arthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, affects millions of people worldwide. This type of arthritis occurs over time and by overuse. The cartilage between the bones at your pivotal joints wears away. As a result, your bones grind against each other, causing pain and swelling. Very often osteoarthritis also causes degeneration of the cartilage at the base of your big toe, resulting in big toe joint pain. Bony spurs then develop at the joint there, followed by pain in the big toe and decreased motion of the joint.
Arthritis in the feet causes pain and a loss of strength, flexibility, or exercise ability. For millions of people with arthritis in the feet, simple daily tasks such as walking out to get the mail can be painful. Eventually, walking may become nearly impossible.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Foot And Ankle
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet. Your ankle joint is where the tibia and fibula bones in your leg join up with your foot. There are 33 joints in the foot, but the big toe is the one that is most commonly affected by osteoarthritis.
The joints in your body go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during your lifetime. But sometimes the process your body goes through to repair joints can change their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its called osteoarthritis.
The ends of our bones are covered in a tough but slippery surface, known as cartilage. This allows the bones to move against each other. The bones are held in place by ligaments. Tendons attached to our muscles and bones help us to move around.
Osteoarthritis causes damage to the cartilage, which results in pain and swelling, and can sometimes mean the bones rub against each other as we move. Osteoarthritis doesnt just affect the cartilage, but can also cause damage to the bones, ligaments, tendons and lining of affected joints.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its most common in people over 45. It affects more women than men. The risk of developing osteoarthritis is commonly linked to:
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In Toes
Common symptoms of toe arthritis may include:
You have pain in the toes that can take hours or days to subside.
You have swelling and inflammation around the toe joints.
- With rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, swelling and edema is associated with redness.
- With osteoarthritis, there is more bone enlargement of the toe joints as a result of bone spur formation, says podiatrist Krista A. Archer, DPM, a podiatric surgeon who is on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Bone spurs are bony projections that develop along bone edges, often due to joint damage from arthritis.
You have restricted range of motion due to swelling or damage to cartilage in any joints that are in the toes, midfoot, rearfoot, and ankle, says Dr. Archer. Bone spurs will often develop around the joint, restricting movement.
You may be unable to bend your big toe upward and have pain when doing so, says Chadwick Hampton, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. That can make it difficult and painful to walk.
Your toe may become bent permanently downward and cant be positioned flat on the floor.
Your pain worsens with weight-bearing activities like jogging, walking, and climbing stairs. It depends on how severe the deformity is to predict what kind of activities will be painful, says Dr. Archer.
You may have a bump form when the joints rub together. It resembles a callus or bunion.
You may have pitted, separated, or thick toenails.
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Lead To Other Foot And Ankle Issues
Another foot problem experienced by people with RA is nerve pain. Peripheral nerve pain in the foot can cause burning, tingling, and tenderness, Dr. Lightfoot says. Continued pressure on the medial side of the foot can then result in nerve entrapment, or tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Foot pain often occurs in the joints or ball of the foot. In fact, for about 20 percent of people with RA, foot and ankle issues are the first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, according to AAOS.
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Stretch Your Achilles Tendons To Increase Flexibility
You probably dont think about getting your feet in shape the way you do your stomach or your thighs. But exercising your feet can help increase your flexibility and mobility, important when you have arthritis in your feet. Good exercises involve stretching your Achilles tendon as well as the tendons in the balls of your feet and toes. A good exercise for arthritic feet is simply to wiggle your toes. Frisch has his patients use the TV as an exercise aid.
When a commercial comes on, use that time to wiggle, he says. Just dont overdo: Stretching is good to help joint mobility, but dont do it to the point where youre hurting yourself.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Ra
With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission.
Signs and symptoms of RA include:
- Pain or aching in more than one joint
- Stiffness in more than one joint
- Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
- The same symptoms on both sides of the body
- Weight loss
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Tips To Relieve Or Avoid Foot Pain
In addition to the right footwear, pain medications, and surgery, there are things you can do to reduce foot pain from rheumatoid arthritis: