What is Arthritis?

Arthritis in podiatry refers to the inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints in the foot and ankle area. This condition can lead to pain, stiffness, and eventually, loss of movement in the affected joints. The foot has 33 joints, making it a common area for arthritis to develop. The most common types of arthritis affecting the feet are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease), and post-traumatic arthritis, which develops after an injury to the foot or ankle.

What are signs & symptoms of Arthritis in the Feet & Ankles?

Typical signs and symptoms of arthritis in the feet and ankles include:

  • Persistent or recurrent pain or tenderness in a joint
  • Stiffness or reduced range of motion in the foot or ankle
  • Swelling in one or more joints
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
  • Increased pain and swelling in the morning or after sitting or resting
  • Difficulty walking or performing activities that put pressure on the foot

These symptoms can vary in intensity and may worsen over time.

What are possible types and treatments for Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle?

Treatment options for arthritis in the feet and ankles focus on managing symptoms and improving joint function:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy and exercises to improve flexibility and strength
  • Weight management to reduce stress on the joints
  • Applying ice or heat to relieve pain and stiffness
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • In severe cases, surgical intervention to repair or replace affected joint
  • Orthotic devices or supportive shoes to reduce pain and improve walking

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to slow the progression of the disease and maintain foot and ankle function. Regular consultations with a podiatrist or rheumatologist can help manage the condition effectively.