When most people think about arthritis, the first things that come to mind are pain in the hips, knees, and hands. However, it can affect any joint in the body, including the feet, ankles, and toes. Luckily, there are several treatment options available. Because May is Arthritis Awareness Month, in today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee, at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing treatment options for arthritis of the foot.
You don’t have to live with foot pain or wait until it affects your mobility to take action. Try these tips to help manage arthritis in your feet.
- See your podiatrist. If you have (or think you might have) arthritis in your feet, have your feet assessed by a podiatrist at least once a year to make sure there aren’t any changes in your feet. Your podiatrist can also determine whether any devices you may have been given, such as orthotics or braces, are working properly.
- Wear supportive shoes. Supportive, comfortable shoes with arch support are important for foot arthritis. They should be wide enough so that they don’t put pressure on any calluses or bunions. Avoid high heels if you’re experiencing pain in the big toe.
- Stretch your Achilles tendons. Exercising your feet can boost your mobility and flexibility, which is crucial when living with arthritis in your feet. Exercises that involve stretching your Achilles tendon and the tendons in the toes and the balls of your feet are great.
- Get a relaxing foot massage. Just as massages are great for your shoulders or back, a foot massage can diminish foot pain. Either you or a partner should squeeze the balls of the feet and the toes, working your way from the top down.
- Apply topical medications. Use topicals that contain capsaicin, an ingredient which is found in chili peppers believed to reduce the amount of substance P, which transfers pain in the body. It’s sold over the counter in various forms under different brand names, including Icy Hot.
- Use orthotics for balance and stability. Many patients find relief using shoe inserts or orthotics because they can deliver weight more evenly over the bottom of their feet and fix misalignments. Your podiatrist can provide custom-made orthotics.
- Consider surgery. Surgery should only be considered when your pain is limiting your choice of activities and lifestyle. The right procedure for you depends on the type of arthritis, where it’s located, and the impact it’s having on your joints.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can help decrease pain and joint swelling caused by arthritis.
If you have arthritis in the foot, contact Dr. Hubert Lee and his team at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule a visit. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.