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
Invest In Proper Footwear
When you have arthritis, your shoes are either going to help you or hurt you, says Jackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in New York City. Proper fit is a key factor in how foot-friendly shoes are. Besides having to accommodate an arthritic joint that may have stiffness, swelling, and contracture, shoes need to fit the hammertoes and bunions that often happen along with arthritis. Comfort brands like Vionic, Ecco, Clarks, and Mephisto are designed to be stylish and comfortable. They include arch support, heel cups, thick soles, cushioning, and shock absorption.
People with bad osteoarthritis in the feet may particularly benefit from shoes with rocker soles, which have a thicker-than-normal sole with a curved heel. A shoe with this type of sole reduces pressure under the big toe joint by 12 percent in people with OA, research shows. In a recent study the pain score in those who wore rocker sole shoes improved by 22 points.
What Causes Ankle Arthritis
The degeneration of the ankle cartilage associated with ankle arthritis can be caused by wear and tear over time or from a chronic, rheumatic disease. There are two basic types of arthritis that can affect the ankle: osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis .
Osteoarthritis , also known as degenerative joint disease, is the more common form. It is a painful condition that occurs when cartilage inside a joint wears down over time. The older we get, the more our cartilage deteriorates especially in joints that we use most frequently.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Arthritis
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 or ankles:
- Swelling in one or more joints
- Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
- Redness or heat in a joint
- Limitation in the motion of a joint
- Early morning stiffness
- Skin changes, including rashes and growths
Precautions To Keep In Mind Before Exercising
If youre new to exercise, its always smart to first talk to your doctor to make sure the exercises are safe and appropriate for you, without exacerbating inflammation or aggravating joint pain. Likewise, if youve had surgery on your foot or ankle, get guidance from your doctor or podiatrist on what exercises are safe for you.More tips to help protect your joints:
Start slowly. Ease your joints into exercise if you havent been active for a while, say experts. Push too hard too fast, and you can hurt yourself or worsen joint pain, says Dr. Zinkin. Go easy at first, then increase the length and intensity of your work out as you progress.
Move gently. At the start of every exercise activity, start with slow gentle stretches or a ball massage to help warm up ligaments and get joints moving though a range of motion, says Dr. Silverman. Dont force any stretches and keep your movements slow and easy. People sometimes feel like the more they do, or the harder they push, the better, but thats not true, especially when youre first starting out and when you have arthritis, adds Dr. Zinkin.
Stop if your foot hurts. Take a break when your joints start to ache. If you feel any new joint pain or pain that is sharp, stabbing, or constant, its time to stop.
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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.
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What Is The Treatment For Foot And Ankle Arthritis
A doctor will prescribe treatment for foot and ankle arthritis depending on the stage of the condition and how the symptoms manifest. If your arthritis in the foot and/or ankle is minimal, you may find comfort in home remedies and exercises. However, if you have advanced arthritis, a doctor may recommend a surgical treatment. See below for several popular treatment options.
Home Remedies and ExercisesIf you suspect you have arthritis in the foot and/or ankle, you should limit impact activities, which include running and jumping. Activity modification is an essential part of ankle arthritis treatment. Similarly, people who are overweight may benefit from weight loss or control losing weight decreases the pressure placed on the foot and ankle joints and can alleviate some tension.
There are also several strengthening exercises and stretches that are beneficial to people with mild arthritis. Mild exercise can ease arthritis pain and stiffness, but be careful to not overdo it.
Medications and Non-Surgical TreatmentsIn mild foot and ankle arthritis, shoe modifications can alleviate pain and stiffness. Cushioned inserts can help alleviate symptoms, and a rocker bottom on a shoe sole can help support the joint. To prevent excessive motion in the affected part of the body, a brace may also be recommended to help hold the ankle joint in position. These braces are known as ankle-foot-orthoses, or AFOs, and are available at most pharmacies.
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Find Help For Arthritis In Feet
If you suffer from arthritis in the foot, toe, or ankle, there are ways to find relief. You dont have to live with the pain from arthritis. From lifestyle changes to surgery, you have options. Working a pain specialist who has advanced experience treating patients with arthritis pain is your best bet to getting the relief you need.
You can find a PainDoctor.com-certified pain specialist in your area by clicking the button below. Theyll work closely with you to provide the comprehensive care you need to get back to a life with less pain.
Treat Your Feet With An Epsom Salt Bath
Soaking your aching feet may feel like a luxury you dont have time for but if youve got arthritis in your feet, its one of the best things you can do, Dr Solomon says. The warm water eases pain and reduces swelling while the magnesium in the salt helps relax your muscles. Simply feel a tub with comfortably hot water and add a generous handful of Epsom salts. Soak for at least 15 minutes.
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Its Not Surprising That You Can Feel Arthritis In Your Feet: The Disease Predominantly Affects Your Joints And Your Foot Contains More Than 30 Of Them
If you live with arthritis, chances are you feel the painful effects in your feet. Feet are tremendously affected by arthritis, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor for CreakyJoints.
Indeed, osteoarthritis , the most common type of arthritis, affects the feet of one in six people over the age of 50. With rheumatoid arthritis , the most common type of inflammatory autoimmune arthritis, more than 90 percent of patients develop symptoms in the foot and ankle over the course of the disease. In about 20 percent of RA cases, foot and ankle symptoms are even among the first signs of the disease.
Its not surprising that you can feel arthritis in your feet: The disease predominantly affects your joints, and your foot contains more than 30 joints.
Natural Treatments For Foot Arthritis
If you suffer from arthritis in the foot or toe arthritis, you have many options to find relief. The most important one is to lose any excess weight. Extra weight puts additional pressure on the joints, leading to an increase in pain. If you lose weight, you can relieve a lot of your pain.
Along with weight-loss, the six other proven natural treatments for arthritis include:
- Getting in low-impact exercise, as exercise is one of the most important ways to reduce arthritis pain
- Getting foot massages to reduce tension in your feet
- Bracing to support the joint during exercise
- Finding the right shoes for foot arthritis
- Performing exercises and stretches for your feet, especially with big toe arthritis
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Pay Attention If Your Normal Shoes No Longer Fit Comfortably
Arthritis can cause your toes to subtly change shape or shift in position. You might not notice this by looking at them, but youll likely feel a difference in how your shoes fit, says Sophia Solomon, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist who practices in New York. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can cause the toes to deviate outward, toward the little toe, she explains. If your go-to shoes become uncomfortable, you are experiencing pressure in new places or you have a really hard time finding shoes that fit comfortably, its time to see a doctor, she says.
Dont Pick The Cheapest Shoes
Avoid inexpensive shoes with thin soles, particularly if youre going to exercise in them or wear them for long stretches of time, Dr Tumen advises. The biggest thing to look for is a nice, thick, cushioned sole, like the kind often found in higher-end athletic shoes, he says. Here are more tips on how to buy good shoes when you have arthritis.
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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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Skin Issues With Ra In The Feet
Changes in your foot shape can result in pressure spreading out unevenly across your foot as you walk. Excess pressure can result in skin conditions:
- Bunions are thick, bony bumps that develop in the joint at the base of your big toe or fifth toe.
- Corns are thick, hardened skin patches that may be larger and less sensitive than the rest of your foot skin.
If theyre not treated, both bunions and corns can develop into ulcers. These are open sores that result from skin breaking down due to a lack of circulation or tissue damage in the foot. Ulcers can become infected and cause further foot pain and damage.
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Prevention Tips For Arthritis In Toes
While some factors behind toe arthritis cannot be controlled, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting the painful condition.
Treat any injuries: Injuries play a role in toe arthritis, so be sure to get proper treatment if needed. You can protect yourself from injury by wearing shoes with toe protection when needed, picking things up off your floor, and walking with care.
Keep your weight under control: Removing excess stress on the feet from body weight can help. Every one pound of scale weight adds about four pounds of stress to the knees, which impacts the joints in your feet.
Manage your blood sugar levels: People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have arthritis as those who dont. People with high blood sugar develop molecules that lead to stiff cartilage, while diabetics are also more prone to inflammation.
Stay active: Regular exercise helps strengthen muscles and relieve stress from joints. It also promotes circulation and helps keep joints limber, so shoot for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Arthritis Pain In The Feet And Ankles
Most arthritic pain in the feet and ankles is caused by the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones at pivotal joints wears away. The bones then grind together, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Osteoarthritis foot and ankle pain typically occurs at the ankle joint where the ankle connects to the shinbone, at the joints connecting the three parts of the foot, and in the joint connecting the big toe to the ball of the foot.
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How Do I Manage Arthritis At Home
There are some things you can do at home that might help if youve been diagnosed with arthritis in hands and feet. For example, your doctor may suggest that you make lifestyle changes. This means eating a healthy diet and getting a good nights sleep. Taking a warm bath before you go to bed and avoiding caffeine at night could help.
If your doctor suggests moving around, staying as active as possible can make the muscles that support your joints stronger, helping you maintain your range of motion. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which could take some of the pressure off of certain joints.1
Always talk to your doctor before making any lifestyle changes, and follow their advice.
What Can I Do About Arthritis In My Feet
When many people think of arthritis they imagine pain in the hands, hips, and knees, but it can affect any joint in the body including the toes, feet, and ankles. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available.
Here at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, Dr. Thomas Rambacher offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for foot and ankle issues, including arthritis. If youre having trouble walking or having to cut back on activities you love due to arthritis pain in your feet, come in to see us.
We administer personalized cutting-edge treatment with as little downtime as possible. Plus you get direct access to Dr. Rambacher via his cell phone in case you have a question after your appointment.
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Dont Ignore Calluses On Your Big Toe
One of the first joints to show symptoms of arthritis is the big toe, Dr Solomon says. The big toe needs 65 degrees of dorsiflexion in order to propel the body forward during normal gait. Arthritis can limit that motion, causing a condition called hallux limitus, or a stiff big toe, she explains. But you dont need a protractor to measure the angle of your toe flexion to know if this is your problem. Look for a pinch callus on the inside of your big toe as that can be a sign that you may have this condition, she says.
Its Totally Fine To Go Up A Shoe Size Or Two
Many adults get locked in to what they think their shoe size should be. But remember that your feet change over time and so should your shoe size. Ill-fitting shoes are a common cause of foot problems and can worsen arthritis symptoms in the feet, Dr Solomon says. To avoid this, buy shoes in a bigger size and look for ones in wider widths to avoid putting pressure on sore spots, she says.
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Treatment Options For Foot Arthritis
There are lots of things we can do to help reduce the pain of your foot arthritis. Pain relievers can help with discomfort, while anti-inflammatory medication can decrease swelling in the joints.
Wearing proper-fitting shoes with support and rubber soles for cushioning is essential. Or we can make you special orthotic inserts or custom shoes to support your foot and ankle.
Specialized exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and toes can help with strength and flexibility. Using canes or braces for support, and losing weight may improve arthritis pain as well.
Other treatment options Dr. Rambacher may recommend include steroid injections, fusing the joints together to lessen friction, or surgically removing any troublesome bone spurs. We also offer stem cell therapy to help regenerate new cartilage.
If you’re tired of arthritis pain in your feet making you uncomfortable and reducing your mobility, Dr. Rambacher is ready to treat your foot arthritis. You can or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.
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