Your feet and ankles, collectively, boast 52 bones—or 26 in each foot. That’s a lot of joints! (66, to be exact, 40 of which are actively articulated.)
It’s no surprise, then, that feet and ankles are one of the most popular targets for many types of arthritis pain. This includes both “wear and tear” varieties of joint damage, such as osteoarthritis, as well as inflammatory joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). By some estimates, nearly half of all Americans in their 60s and 70s experience arthritis pain in their feet and ankles.
Want to reduce that stress and pain? There are a number of remedies you can pursue:
- Stretching. Feet need exercise, too! Stretching your feet, toes, and calves regularly will help you build strength, flexibility, and range of motion. It will also help lengthen and relax a tight Achilles or plantar fascia and prevent them from pulling uncomfortably on joints.
- Medications. Creams or ointments that contain capsaicin may reduce foot pain from arthritis. Other medications that may help include over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or, for tougher pain, cortisone injections.
- New shoes, insoles, or custom orthotics. Sometimes, what you really need is better support or cushioning. Sometimes, a new pair of shoes with a little bit more padding in the insole is more than enough. In other cases, you may require a custom orthotic to reposition your foot alignment or restrict abnormal motion. At your appointment, we’ll help you determine the best approach.
- Managing underlying conditions. Some forms of arthritis, such as gout, may be triggered by diet, systemic diseases, or other factors. Keeping these factors in check will help you minimize the resulting arthritis pain.
- Massage. Doesn’t a foot rub sound good? A quick, self-administered massage when pain flares up can help you temporarily relieve symptoms and improve circulation.
- Surgery. In rare cases, surgery might be warranted. Options include “cleaning” joint surfaces, realigning bones, fusing painful joints, or replacing with an artificial joint.
You don’t have to accept your existing level of arthritis pain just because you’re getting older. There is almost always a good treatment option available. Let us help you figure out what that looks like for you! To schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel in either Milford or Hamden, please call (203) 876-7736 today.