How Does Arthritis Affect the Feet?

How Does Arthritis Affect the Feet?

If you’re among the more than 54 million American adults who suffer from arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. The seemingly simplest tasks — like getting out of bed in the morning, opening a jar, or walking up a flight upstairs — may seem impossible. The joint stiffness, inflammation, and pain seem to take over your life.

When most of us think about arthritis, we may conjure up images of gnarled fingers or someone rubbing their knees after walking up a flight up stairs. It’s true that arthritis often targets the knees, hands, hips, and spine, but did you know that it could also affect your feet?

Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt, our skilled podiatrists at Apple Podiatry Group, share their insights on how arthritis can strike your feet and how a podiatrist can help.

Arthritis explained

Arthritis actually means “joint inflammation,” and there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Arthritis affects men, women, and children of all races and ethnicities. While it’s typically a chronic condition, the symptoms can come and go for some people and can range from mild to severe. 

Despite the myriad variables surrounding arthritis, the key focus is your joints. And when it comes to your feet, in addition to having 28 bones in each foot, you also have 30 joints. 

Although you can get arthritis in any of these foot joints, typically foot arthritis affects the:

Osteoarthritis is very common

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and more than 32 million American adults suffer from the condition. This form of arthritis is sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease. That’s because cartilage, which acts like a shock absorber for bones, starts to wear away over time due to repetitive use. Osteoarthritis occurs in joints throughout the body, including the feet. 

Gout can affect the big toe and ankle

A type of inflammatory arthritis that can affect the big toe, and sometimes the ankle, is gout. The condition occurs in periodic bouts that come on suddenly and cause severe pain. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in your blood that creates sharp crystals in your joints. 

We often treat gout with ice packs to the big toe and anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain and inflammation. We may also recommend drinking plenty of fluids to help flush the uric acid crystals from the joint.

Custom made orthotics for support and cushioning

For treating foot pain, one of the great tools in our toolbox at Apple Podiatry Group is custom orthotics. Since custom orthotics map out every contour of your feet, they not only respond to any biomechanical issues, like the unique way you plant your foot, but they also provide support to enhance cushioning for your sore joints.

If you have concerns about arthritis in your feet, contact us at Apple Podiatry Group for a consultation. We’ll do a thorough examination and may order imaging tests like X-rays to diagnose what’s going on. Book an appointment through this website, or you can call one of our offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas.

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