Arthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joints and can significantly impact quality of life. When it affects the feet, it can make everyday activities like walking or climbing stairs an ordeal. Recognizing the signs of arthritis in the feet early is crucial to managing the condition effectively and limiting its impact on mobility and lifestyle.
Understanding Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritis in the feet generally refers to one of two types:
- Osteoarthritis – the wear-and-tear type that often comes with age
- Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, including those in the feet
Signs of Arthritis in the Feet
You may experience these signs if you have arthritis in the feet:
Persistent pain is one of the first signs of arthritis in the feet. This pain may be present when walking, standing for long periods, or during other physical activities.It might also occur after these activities or even at rest. The pain is usually located in joints but can radiate to surrounding areas.
Stiffness in the feet, particularly in the morning, is another common sign of arthritis.This stiffness often eases as the day progresses and movement increases, but it can return after periods of inactivity.
Swelling in or around the foot joints can indicate arthritis. This swelling is usually due to inflammation in the joint. It may be accompanied by redness and a sensation of warmth.
Changes in Foot Shape
Over time, arthritis can cause changes in the shape of the foot. This may result in a shift in the way weight is distributed across the foot, leading to areas of increased pressure and discomfort.
As arthritis progresses, it can become increasingly difficult to walk. This may be due to pain, stiffness, or changes in foot shape that affect balance.
When to See Your Doctor for Arthritis in the Feet
Recognizing the signs of arthritis in your feet is crucial, but understanding when to seek medical advice can be equally important.
Consult your foot doctor if you experience any of the following:
If you’re experiencing persistent foot pain that doesn’t improve after a week of home treatment or worsens over time, it’s time to see your doctor.
Swelling That Doesn’t Improve
Swelling in the feet that doesn’t improve after 2 to 5 days of home treatment is another sign that you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Difficulty walking or performing regular activities due to foot pain or stiffness is a clear signal that you should visit a doctor.Arthritis can limit mobility and interfere with daily life, and addressing these symptoms early can help improve your quality of life.
Conservative Therapy Doesn’t Work
If conservative therapy methods, like over-the-counter pain relievers or hot/cold therapy, aren’t bringing relief, it’s likely time to see a doctor.You may require prescribed medication or advanced treatment options.
Treatment Options for Arthritis in the Feet
Once you are diagnosed with arthritis in the feet, it’s time to explore an array of treatment options. These treatments aim to control symptoms, limit joint damage, and improve or maintain function and mobility.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often recommended to reduce swelling and relieve pain in the foot and ankle joints affected by mild arthritis.Corticosteroids, similar to the cortisone the body produces, are used to control moderate to severe inflammation by taking them orally or directly injecting into the affected joint.
Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, improve range of motion, and reduce pain.A physical therapist may also recommend special footwear or inserts to help alleviate pain and improve walking.
Weight management and regular exercise can significantly impact arthritis in the feet. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure on the joints. On the other hand, low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling can keep joints flexible without adding further stress.
In advanced stages or if other treatments fail to provide relief, surgical intervention might be considered. Surgical treatments can include:
- Arthroscopic debridement – where damaged tissue is removed to ease pain
- Arthrodesis – which fuses the bones together to provide stability
Some people find relief from alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or the application of hot or cold packs.
Treatment for Arthritis in the Feet Near You in Cincinnati, OH
Arthritis in the feet can have a significant impact on a person’s mobility and quality of life. By recognizing the signs early and seeking appropriate medical intervention, it’s possible to manage the symptoms and maintain an active lifestyle. Remember, it’s never too late to take steps toward healthier feet.
Do you need personalized treatment for arthritis in the feet near you in Cincinnati? You can rely on the foot doctors at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care (CFAC). You may reach us at one of our 17 convenient locations across southwest Ohio. You can also schedule a visit to the best foot doctor near you using our online appointment request form.