Posts for tag: Arthritis
Arthritis is a joint condition that affects roughly 54 million American adults according to the Arthritis Foundation. It can show up in joints all around the body, including the feet and toes. When the joints of the feet are affected by inflammation, it affects a patient’s ability to move their toes, bend their feet up or down, and turn on a dime when participating in athletic activities. Learn the steps that you can take to care for arthritic feet and improve your overall foot health.
Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritic joint pain, which is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction, is most commonly felt in the big toe, ankle, and the middle part of the foot. There are many different types of arthritis conditions that could affect the feet, including psoriatic, reactive, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form—it is caused by the bones rubbing together, making the joints feel stiff and painful. Patients who are overweight are more likely to struggle with arthritic feet, as are seniors. Some people have had arthritis since childhood (juvenile arthritis or JA), making them more likely to develop foot deformities like bunions and struggle with swollen joints.
Though arthritis isn’t a curable condition, the symptoms can be eased with treatment so that you can continue to walk, jog, exercise, and work without debilitating pain. These are some of the ways your podiatrist may treat arthritis in the feet:
- An X-ray or other imaging test to examine the condition of the joints.
- Physical therapy exercises to make the joints more flexible.
- Orthotic device or shoe for better foot support.
- Joint injections (corticosteroids).
- NSAID drugs (anti-inflammatories).
- Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the joints (Arthroscopic debridement) or fuse the bones (arthrodesis).
Caring for Your Feet
Seeing a foot doctor is an important part of caring for arthritic feet. But there are also some actions you can take at home to keep your feet and joints in good condition:
- Get rid of shoes that put too much pressure on your joints, like high heels or sneakers that don’t support the ankles.
- Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and massage your feet when relaxing.
- Commit to doing the toe and foot exercises suggested by your podiatrist.
Treating Arthritic Feet
Arthritic feet shouldn't prevent you from carrying on with normal life and physical activities. Get help from a podiatrist as soon as you start to experience symptoms and take extra steps to care for your feet.
Bunions, hammertoes, arthritis -- foot surgery is the final remedy many different kinds of pain in the foot and ankle. These problems of the foot can cause severe pain in some patients, and relief can often be found through alternative treatments. In extreme cases though, these alternative treatments won’t be effective, resulting in the need for foot surgery. Your podiatrist will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your ailments.
Bunion surgeries fall into two major categories:
- Head procedures that treat the big toe joint
- Base procedures concentrate on the bone near or behind the big toe joint.
Most bunion surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis at a surgical center or hospital. It is important to set aside an entire day for your surgery, even though you may be in the facility for only half a day. Bunion surgery is usually performed with a local anesthetic and it can be combined with a sedation medication to put you into a “twilight” sleep so that you are fully relaxed for the procedure.
After surgery, patients are often given a long-acting anesthetic and pain medication, which is why someone else must drive you home. The type of procedure you have will determine the degree to which you can put weight on the foot immediately after the surgery. Some patients may have to use crutches, while others may be sent home wearing a surgical shoe.
During the first week after surgery, you will need to keep your foot elevated as much as possible. Ice packs should also be applied for the first three to four days to reduce swelling. Limited walking is often required over the first two weeks to promote healing. Your podiatrist may also instruct you on some basic exercises that need to be performed daily.
Ankle surgery may be required to correct a serious deformity of the ankle and its bone structure. Injury, birth defects or changes throughout the course of life are the usual culprits. Disease, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and neuromuscular conditions, may cause severe foot and ankle deformities that, over time, cause pain and difficulty walking. Surgeries of the ankle emphasize the realignment of the structure either around or after removal of the deformity.
Various kinds of internal and external fixation devices are often required to maintain the appropriate alignment during, and beyond the healing process. Varying in complexity and severity, many ankle surgeries are conducted on a same-day, outpatient basis. Patients need to arrange for another person to take them home after surgery and to stay with them for the first 24 hours following the surgery. Post-operative instructions provided by your podiatrist will give you the information needed to care for your recovering ankle following surgery.
When foot problems occur, your feet deserve your full attention and the care of your podiatrist. Foot surgery can often be avoided with conservative treatments, but if your foot pain is excessive foot surgery may be the best solution. Contact your podiatrist in today for further consultation and treatment of your foot ailments.