When people hear about arthritis, they immediately think about other parts of the body, but not the feet. Arthritis in your feet can be especially challenging, as it can decrease mobility and impact your quality of life. So because we’re coming up on Arthritis Awareness Month, today Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center are sharing information regarding problems arthritis can cause in your feet and how to manage the symptoms.
Problems Caused by Foot Arthritis
While arthritis can develop in any joint of your body, it’s quite common in the feet. In fact, it affects nearly half of people over the age of 60. Foot arthritis causes swelling around the joints in your feet, causing stiffness and pain.
A common spot for arthritis to develop is the joint at the bottom of your big toe. With use and age, the cartilage of this joint becomes injured, so when you move your toe, it produces pain, and in some cases, it causes bone spurs.
The areas commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the joints that involve the outer mid-foot bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the heel bone, making it difficult for your foot to bear weight.
When you have foot pain, you’re less likely to use them, so you might find yourself standing less or walking shorter distances. Arthritis in your feet can diminish mobility as you lose flexibility and strength. In more serious cases, patients may find it impossible to walk.
How to Manage Arthritis in Your Feet
Several options are available to help you control your foot arthritis to keep you active. Topical creams that contain capsaicin and OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen and have been shown to help manage arthritis pain in many patients. Wearing supportive, comfortable shoes that provide your feet with room to move can help relieve arthritic foot pain.
Braces or custom orthotics help take pressure off painful joints and realign your feet. Orthotics can provide cushioning for your feet to help decrease the pain you feel in your joints. If you wear devices like braces or orthotics, regular visits to your podiatrist are important to make sure they’re still working properly.
Some patients find that exercising their feet helps stave off the negative effects of foot arthritis while maintaining their mobility. Simple exercises such as wiggling your toes can help fight the stiffness associated with foot arthritis. Remember that stretching and exercising shouldn’t cause pain, so don’t overdo it.
You don’t have to live with the swelling, stiffness, or pain caused by foot arthritis. Contact the offices of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. Click here to locate the office nearest you and schedule an appointment today.