Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis in the foot and ankle is a condition that can significantly impact an individual’s mobility and comfort. The foot and ankle are some of the body’s weight-bearing joints, and they are especially susceptible to arthritis. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced motion. It can be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other forms of inflammatory arthritis. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities and harm well-being. A deeper knowledge and understanding of this condition will empower you to make the best decisions for your health.

Person with ankle pain

Types of Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis, meaning joint inflammation, involves the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. Among the various types of arthritis, let’s focus on the following most prevalent ones affecting the foot and ankle:

  • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease resulting from the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the synovium (lining of the joints), leading to pain, swelling, and joint deformities.
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis: Arthritis that develops after a previous injury or trauma to the foot or ankle, such as a fracture or severe sprain.
  • Gout Arthritis: Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, resulting in sudden and severe pain, redness, and swelling, often in the big toe.

Gout arthritis graphic

Symptoms of Foot and Ankle Arthritis

If you’re experiencing foot and ankle arthritis, you may notice several symptoms that can significantly impact your ability to perform everyday tasks:

  • Pain: Persistent or intermittent pain in the affected joint(s), often worsened by activity and relieved by rest.
  • Swelling: Visible or palpable swelling around the affected joint(s), indicating inflammation.
  • Stiffness: Difficulty moving the affected joint(s), especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Limited ability to move the joint(s) through their full range of motion.
  • Tenderness: Sensitivity or discomfort when pressure is applied to the affected joint(s).

Risk Factors

Failing to seek professional help for foot and ankle arthritis can lead to various risks and complications. Without proper medical guidance, the condition may worsen. This leads to more pain, stiffness, and trouble doing daily activities. Untreated arthritis can also lead to joint damage, deformity, and loss of function in the affected foot and ankle joints. This harm significantly impairs mobility and well-being. Neglecting to address arthritis promptly may cause distress, chronic pain, and can deeply impact emotional wellness. Getting professional help is crucial for managing foot and ankle arthritis and reducing complications. It also improves physical and mental health.

Diagnosing Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Diagnosing foot and ankle arthritis involves a thorough approach. It includes a physical exam and possibly imaging and lab tests. Your doctor will thoroughly assess your foot and ankle for signs of arthritis. This includes swelling, tenderness, and deformities like bunions or hammertoe. They will observe how you walk and evaluate your pain and joint stiffness.

Range of motion tests may be performed to assess joint flexibility. X-rays are recommended to confirm the diagnosis and check the extent of arthritis. They show changes in joint space, cartilage, and bone. In some cases, MRI or CT scans may be needed for a clearer view of bone and soft tissue. Blood tests are also common to find the type of arthritis.

Treatment Options for Foot and Ankle Arthritis

You can manage arthritis in your foot and ankle with many treatments. They range from non-surgical to surgical options. The choice depends on the severity and response to initial treatment:

  • Assistive Devices: Inserts, braces, or splints can support and help stabilize affected joints.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, may be taken to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises, including physical therapy techniques, can help improve joint flexibility, strength, and range of motion.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections may be administered directly into the affected joint to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical interventions like arthroscopy, joint fusion, or joint replacement may be recommended to repair or replace damaged joints.

Women experiencing pain in her foot

Doctors usually start by using non-surgical methods to manage foot and ankle arthritis. These methods aim to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve joint function. These methods include assistive devices like orthotic inserts, braces, or splints for added support. They also include medications such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids to manage symptoms well. Physical therapy is pivotal. It offers tailored exercises to boost joint flexibility and muscle strength. In advanced arthritis, surgery like arthroscopic procedures can remove damaged tissue or bone spurs. Joint fusion can stabilize the joint. Joint replacement surgery may be considered to restore mobility and alleviate pain. Treatment decisions are based on factors like arthritis severity, overall health, and personal preferences. Your Florida Medical Clinic Orlando Health physician will evaluate these factors for personalized care.

Prevention Strategies

Several options are available to prevent arthritis in your foot and ankle. From lifestyle adjustments to protective measures, reduce your risk with the following strategies:

  • Incorporate Joint-Friendly Activities: Low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling are gentle on the joints while providing cardiovascular benefits.
  • Minimize High-Impact Activities: To minimize joint wear and tear, limit activities that put excessive stress on the joints, such as running or jumping.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts added stress on the joints, so maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of arthritis development.
  • Protect Your Joints: Wear supportive footwear and use protective gear and equipment during sports or activities that pose a risk of joint injury.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any signs of joint pain or discomfort and rest when needed to prevent overuse injuries.

Our Approach to Foot and Ankle Arthritis Care

The implications of foot and ankle arthritis extend beyond physical discomfort, impacting daily activities and overall well-being. Our shared goal is to restore function, alleviate pain, and rediscover the joy of movement. While arthritis may present challenges, understanding your condition, seeking timely care, and embracing appropriate treatment can improve outcomes.

If you’re seeking expert care and personalized treatment plans, consider contacting Florida Medical Clinic Orlando Health today. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals is committed to providing comprehensive care and support to help you overcome foot and ankle arthritis and regain mobility and quality of life. Take the first step toward better foot and ankle health today.

Brandon - 2020 Town Center Blvd Brandon, Florida 33511

Brandon

2020 Town Center Blvd
Brandon, Florida 33511

Suite D


Brandon

2020 Town Center Blvd
Brandon, Florida 33511

Suite D

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Care Team at this location:
North Tampa - 14547 Bruce B Downs Blvd Tampa, Florida 33613

North Tampa

14547 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33613

Suite C


North Tampa

14547 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33613

Suite C

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Care Team at this location:
Wesley Chapel - 2352 Bruce B Downs Blvd Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544

Wesley Chapel

2352 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544

Suite 102


Wesley Chapel

2352 Bruce B Downs Blvd
Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544

Suite 102

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Care Team at this location:
Zephyrhills - 38107 Market Square Drive Zephyrhills, Florida 33542

Zephyrhills

38107 Market Square Drive
Zephyrhills, FL 33542

Main


Zephyrhills

38107 Market Square Drive
Zephyrhills, FL 33542

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Care Team at this location:
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