Ways To Care For Arthritic Feet
Arthritis comes in many forms and can cause those who have it to be uncomfortable or in pain. Thankfully, there are some ways to care for arthritic feet at home in order to relieve some troublesome symptoms. Ice packs can be used to reduce inflammation, which will help the joint feel better overall. Stiff-soled shoes, that have plenty of room for your toes, will also help alleviate some pain. Contrast baths can also be used to reduce symptoms. Contrast baths require two buckets or tubs of water, one warm and one cold. Alternating the affected foot from cold water to warm water every 30 seconds for 5 minutes can offer some relief. It is important to avoid freezing or boiling water, because these could cause further damage to the foot. If you think you may have arthritis, then it is strongly suggested that you speak with podiatrist to begin the proper treatment.
Arthritis can be a difficult condition to live with. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from Family Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Arthritic Foot Care
Arthritis is a joint disorder that involves the inflammation of different joints in your body, such as those in your feet. Arthritis is often caused by a degenerative joint disease and causes mild to severe pain in all affected areas. In addition to this, swelling and stiffness in the affected joints can also be a common symptom of arthritis.
Alleviating Arthritic Pain
Stop Avoiding Mobility Aids
A cane, walker, or wheelchair may be necessary for some people with arthritis to stay independent and get around on their own. Understandably it can be tough to think about needing some sort of mobility aid, but if you do need one and don’t use it you risk missing out on things you would enjoy.
A cane or wheelchair doesn’t define who you are, and no one will judge you or think less of you for using one. In fact, you’ll probably be admired for getting out there and having fun in spite of needing a little help.
Find Your Healthy Weight
Being a healthy weight is important for everyone, but especially for those suffering from joint pain.1 Excess weight places increased stress on your whole body, especially your joints.2 But heres the good newslosing even just a few pounds can help you reduce pressure on your ankles, knees, and hips.3 For your best odds of long-term weight loss success, take off the pounds slowly using a healthy eating plan and regularly engaging in physical activity.
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Experiment With Heat And Cold
Hot water bottles and ice packs both have their place in medicine. Heat therapy can open up the blood vessels to promote blood flow, while cold therapy tightens blood vessels to reduce inflammation.As a general rule of thumb, for chronic pain you use heat if its an acute injury you use a cold compress, says Dr. Alade. She stresses that some people with acute flares might fare better with heat, or someone with chronic pain might find more relief with cold, so try both and figure out which makes you feel the best.
How Dietary Changes Can Help
Diet can either be a protective factor or a risk factor when it comes to arthritis, according to a study published on dietary habits and arthritisin the scientific journal Nutrients. Certain foods are pro-inflammatory and should be limited to once or twice a month, while some foods are anti-inflammatory and should be consumed daily.
Foods to avoid or reduce include the following:
- Red meats
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dark, leafy greens
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Always Take Your Medication
First things first: Make sure you havent been ignoring your prescriptions. For example, if a medication is supposed to be taken three times a day or two times a day, but a patient only takes one dose, then they dont feel like theres an effect, says Dr. Torralba. It does take a while for the medication to build up in their body and take an effect. Sticking with your treatment plan is the best way to get arthritis joint pain relief. If youve been feeling better, thats because of the medications its not a signal that the disease is gone for good.
How To Help An Elderly Loved One With Arthritis
As a caregiver to a senior with arthritis, one of the most important things to remember is to be empathetic and to listen. Make sure your loved ones concerns are heard and that you help communicate them to a health care provider so arthritis is properly diagnosed and treated.
During the early stages of senior arthritis, its important to track symptoms, medications, dietary habits, and physical activity. This information can be used by a doctor to identify patterns of your loved one that may need adjusting.
Other ways to help a senior with arthritis include the following:
- Encourage physical activity. Depending on their capabilities, you could sign them up for exercise classes or simply go on daily walks with them.
- Keep track of their medications and treatment. Help ensure proper care while avoiding the dangers of an overdose. It can also help you see changes in symptoms to identify what works for them.
- Help them eat a well-balanced diet. Incorporate arthritis-friendly, anti-inflammatory foods into their meals, while limiting inflammatory foods that worsen the effects of arthritis.
- Create an arthritis-friendly home environment. Install grab bars and toilet seat risers in the bathroom. Use Velcro instead of buttons. Get them shoehorns to make putting on shoes easier.
No matter the path you and your loved one choose to take, its important to work closely with them and their primary care provider to ensure their arthritis is properly managed.
Mayo Clinic. . Gout.
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Other Causes Of Foot Pain
Pain in the foot can be a consequence of damage, pressure or rubbing over a long period of time.
Wearing badly fitting shoes, pregnancy, injury, or putting too much strain through specific parts of your foot can all cause changes in the shape of your feet. Often, these changes are painful and can affect your ability to do things.
Sometimes, its our choice of shoes that has the biggest impact on the structure of our feet and the problems we develop, such as:
Corns are raised areas of hard, knobbly skin which develop where calluses have been left untreated. They often cause a burning sensation. A corn is a permanent change to your foot which will need care and management to stop it becoming too painful. You can manage corns by gently filing or pumicing them each week. You should never cut the skin with a blade.
Corns and calluses will usually grow back within four to six weeks unless you reduce the pressure on the area. Wearing softer, roomier footwear and placing a cushioned pad over the corn or callus can help.
A neuroma causes sudden shooting, stabbing, or burning pain. Most commonly it affects the third and fourth toes and the ball of your foot. It can feel like there is a small stone under your foot and your toes may become numb or tingly. It is caused by a damaged or irritated nerve and often becomes more painful over time. It is also known as Mortons neuroma and can be made worse by:
Clawed, mallet, retracted and hammer toes
Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
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How To Treat Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage insulating the joints breaks down. With less protection, the joint area becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to chronic pain, swelling and stiffness. Although there is no cure for arthritis, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms from swollen and painful joints to improve your quality of life. Over-the-counter medications like arthritis cream and pain relief can be used as a part of an overall medical treatment plan for arthritis relief, and CVS makes it easy to buy them.
Antidepressants For Osteoarthritis Pain
Your doctor may recommend the use of antidepressant medication to help treat chronic OA pain even if you donât have depression. Itâs not clear how it works, but brain chemicals affected by antidepressant medications may play a role.
One antidepressant, duloxetine , is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, including chronic osteoarthritis pain. Common side effects include nausea, dry mouth, sleepiness, and constipation.
Doctors sometimes prescribe a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline, desipramine , and nortriptyline for chronic pain. These are most often taken near bedtime because they can make you sleepy. Other side effects include dry mouth, nausea, weight change, and constipation.
All antidepressant drugs carry a boxed warning of higher risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. Anyone starting antidepressant drugs should be monitored closely for any unusual behavioral changes, suicidal thinking and behavior, or worsening of a psychiatric disorder.
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Hot And Cold Treatments
Using either heat or cold treatments can reduce the stiffness and pain of arthritis.
Cold packs numb the sore area. They are especially good for severe joint pain and swelling caused by a flare . Heat treatments relax your muscles. You can use dry heat methods such as a heating pad or heat lamp or moist heat methods, such as a bath or hydrocollator pack.
What Symptoms Look And Feel Like And What To Do If You Can’t Shake The Ache
by Michelle Crouch, AARP, Updated December 20, 2021
En español |It’s not unusual to experience pain in your joints on occasion, especially if you’re active and participate in high-impact activities such as running. That unwanted ouch can be caused by injured muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint or by tendonitis, a sprain or a strain.
But if you start experiencing aching, pain and stiffness on a routine basis and particularly if the pain is right at the joint you may be developing arthritis, says rheumatologist Uzma Haque, M.D., codirector of clinical operations at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore.
Your risk of arthritis increases as you age, and its a leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting around 58.5 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
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Physical Therapy For Arthritis Treatment
Physical therapy is often recommended to help ease arthritis pain. It can strengthen the muscles that support your damaged joints, help reduce joint stiffness, and improve your range of motion. Its also a good first non-surgical and non-medicating start to improve mobility, says Keenan.
According to 2014 research in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, people with osteoarthritis of the hip can feel less pain and have more physical function after engaging in physical therapy exercises. And by going to sessions, you’ll learn how to properly perform the moves and stretches. You may also see an improvement in your ability to:
- Climb stairs
- Climb in and out of the bathtub
If youre looking for a physical therapist, its important to consult with your doctor first. And to find a specialist in your area, you can also check out the resource finder tool from the Arthritis Foundation and the find a PT tool from the American Physical Therapy Association.
While physical therapy can offer significant benefits for many people with arthritis, its not effective for everyone. If its recommended as part of your treatment, give it a try for at least three to six months. If you dont see any improvement in that time, physical therapy simply may not be useful for your individual case of arthritis.
Other Forms Of Arthritis
As mentioned previously, there are many forms of arthritis. Some less common forms of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and reactive arthritis.
- Psoriatic arthritis. People with psoriasis can also develop arthritis. Typically, they experience swollen fingers and toes, nail changes, lower back pain, eye inflammation, and inflammation of joints, according to a psoriatic arthritis overview by the NIAMS.
- Ankylosing spondylitis. Mainly affecting the spine, ankylosing spondylitis can cause some of the bones in the spine to fuse over time, according to clinical manifestation research published by UpToDate. Early signs include pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
- Reactive arthritis. Triggered by other infections in the body, reactive arthritis typically targets the knees, ankle, and feet. Signs and symptoms come and go, usually clearing up within a few weeks or months, according to a reactive arthritis overview published by the NIAMS.
Although its not a type of arthritis, lupus is known as an arthritic condition because of the chronic inflammation associated with it. Approximately 95% of lupus patients experience arthritis at some point, according to the John Hopkins Lupus Center. If you or your loved one has lupus, be sure to check for symptoms of arthritis as well.
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Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented
Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.
Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
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Points To Remember About Arthritis
- “Arthritis” means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints.
- There are many types of arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Medications and surgery can treat arthritis.
- Activities that can help reduce symptoms at home include exercise hot and cold therapies relaxation therapies splints and braces and assistive devices.
Other Otc Pain Relievers
Along with medications, there are supplements and creams that you can buy at the drugstore to relieve arthritis pain. People may also use topical treatments along with other medications.
Many people with OA use the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. For those with moderate to severe OA knee pain, the combination of the two may ease aches, although medical studies have not shown clear proof that they help a lot. If you choose to try it, take it for at least 3 months before you decide if it helps.
There donât seem to be any major side effects from glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, but because they are supplements, the FDA doesnât regulate them in the same way as drugs. That means itâs tough to be sure of the content and quality of supplements you see in stores.
Though the benefit is still unclear, one study showed long-term use of fish oil supplements improved pain and function.
Skin creams made from capsaicin, an extract from chili peppers, may help relieve mild arthritis pain. You may notice a mild stinging or burning feeling when you rub it on your skin, but it usually fades over time. Test the medication on a small part of your skin to make sure youâre not sensitive to any of the ingredients.
Cold or warm compresses on a painful joint a few times per week may also improve pain, swelling, and range of motion. Cold therapy may also help you feel better right after you exercise.
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Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of spinal arthritis. It usually affects the lower back and develops through wear and tear. As the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Because the pain is from mechanical damage, it is typically more noticeable when you bend or twist your back. Past back injuries may also contribute to the development of degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine usually affects the facet joints between the vertebrae. It is also known as facet joint arthritis, facet joint syndrome and facet disease. In some cases, degeneration of the spinal discs may contribute to facet joint arthritis. As discs between the vertebrae become thinner, more pressure is transferred to the facet joints. This leads to more friction and more damage to the cartilage.
When these degenerative changes occur in the neck, this condition is called cervical spondylosis. Arthritis in the neck doesnt always cause pain, and many people have no noticeable symptoms.