What is Arthritis?

Arthritis can cause pain in your feet as well as your knees, fingers and wrists. Arthritis is inflammation of a joint and is very common in the small joints of the ankle and foot, especially in the big toe and midfoot.

Several types of arthritis can affect the foot and ankle:

  • Osteoarthritis or “wear and tear” arthritis can occur with younger individuals but most often affects those during and after middle age. When the cartilage that protects the joint bones wears away, the bones rub against each other causing pain and stiffness. Other risk factors are family history and obesity.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the tissue covering the joint causing damage to the cartilage and bone. Joint deformity and disability are often the results.
  • Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the big toe and other joints. Some risk factors include heavy alcohol intake, obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Arthritis can result from trauma to the foot or ankle such as fractures and dislocations.

Signs & Symptoms of Arthritis

  • Pain with motion
  • Tenderness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint warmth
  • Difficulty walking

How can I prevent Arthritis?

While some risk factors for arthritis, such as age and genetics, are out of your control, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk or slow its progression. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on the joints, and engage in regular, low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling to keep joints flexible and strengthen the muscles that support them. A balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation. Avoiding injury and repetitive motions that stress the joints can also be beneficial. Remember, early intervention is key, so stay vigilant for any signs of joint pain or discomfort.

What are some treatment options for Arthritis?

There is no cure for arthritis, but once we have confirmed our diagnosis we can help you manage your arthritis to relieve your discomfort.

  • Custom-fitted orthotics can ease pain and minimize pressure on the foot.
  • Physical therapy can increase range of motion, flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Switch to low-impact exercise like swimming or biking.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication to relieve inflammation.
  • Reduce excess weight to relieve joint stress.

Arthritis in the feet and ankles can significantly impact your daily life and mobility. Recognizing the signs and symptoms early is crucial for managing the condition effectively. While there’s no cure for arthritis, various treatment options can alleviate the pain, improve joint function, and slow the progression of the disease. Prevention strategies can also play a vital role in maintaining joint health. At West Hartford Podiatry Associates, we’re committed to providing comprehensive care and support to individuals dealing with arthritis. If you’re experiencing joint pain or other symptoms, don’t wait to seek help. Schedule an appointment with us today and take the first step towards better joint health and improved quality of life.