There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and the small joints of the foot are susceptible to many of them. Osteoarthritis (a.k.a. wear-and-tear arthritis) is the most common type of arthritis to affect the feet due to the tremendous load placed on the feet during walking, running, and standing. Rheumatoid arthritis (caused by an abnormal immune reaction), posttraumatic arthritis, & gouty arthritis (caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joint) are other types of arthritis that frequently plague the foot.
Regardless of the type of arthritis, one thing is certain – your active lifestyle is negatively impacted. Although, there’s no real cure for arthritis, there is quite a lot you can do to ease symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. An important first step is to recognize signs of arthritis so you can take corrective measures.
Here are some signs that you may have arthritis of the foot:
- Foot pain with walking that gets worse with vigorous activity.
- Tenderness of the foot when pressure is applied.
- Swelling, redness, and warmth in the foot.
- Increased foot pain when taking your first few steps in the mornings or after sitting for an extended period of time.
- Clicking and popping sounds in the foot.
- Stiffness and occasional locking of the joints in the foot.
- Change in appearance of the foot.
Painful arthritic symptoms in your foot may be managed by lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, regular exercise, reducing excess weight, hot compresses to soothe painful joints, ice packs to reduce swelling, and the use of pain-relieving medications as recommended by your doctor.
If you suspect your foot symptoms are due to arthritis, you may benefit from a consultation with an orthopedic foot specialist.
Dr. Bryant S. Ho is board-certified in orthopaedic surgery and received comprehensive training in the operative and non-operative management of adolescent and adult foot and ankle disorders. He is highly active in both clinical and biomechanical research, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on orthopaedic foot and ankle care. Dr. Ho treats all disorders of the foot and ankle including arthritis, tendon ruptures, foot and ankle deformities, acute trauma and fractures, repair of non-unions, total ankle replacements and repair of cartilage lesions. Contact Dr. Ho for a consultation today.