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Tips for Easing Arthritis Pain in Feet

There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, many of which affect the foot and ankle.

Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, occurs over time and by overuse. The cartilage between the bones at your pivotal joints wears away. As a result, your bones grind against each other, causing pain and swelling.

When arthritis pain affects your feet, it can become difficult to walk and perform daily activities.

The symptoms of arthritis vary depending on which joint is affected. In many cases, an arthritic joint will be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There can be other symptoms, as well, including:

  • Stiffness. Over time, arthritis wears away at the cartilage between joints, inflames tissues, and damages synovial fluid. All these changes can make joints stiff and difficult to move.
  • Pain with motion. This pain may be minor, moderate, or severe depending on the level of deterioration or inflammation in the joint.
  • A change in your foot’s apperance
  • Tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint
  • Joint swelling, warmth, and redness
  • Difficulty in walking

If a doctor suspects you have arthritis of the foot and ankle, they will most likely request your complete medical history and conduct a physical examination. In most cases, X-rays and laboratory test will be needed to confirm the type and extent of the arthritis.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to slow the progress of the disease and relieve symptoms. By utilizing one or more of the following treatments, many people with arthritis are able to manage their pain:

Anti-inflammatory drugs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. In addition, cortisone is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent that can be injected into an arthritic joint. Take them according to directions and be sure to let your doctor know what you’re taking.

Canes or braces: Using a cane or wearing a brace, such as an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)-may help improve mobility.

Orthotic shoe inserts: If you want achieve the best comfort and support possible for your feet, a podiatrist can craft a custom-made orthotic to help minimize pressure on the foot and decrease pain. In addition, if deformity is present, a shoe insert may tilt the foot of ankle back straight, creating less pain in the joint.

Physical therapy: Specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as help strengthen the muscles in your foot and ankle.

Weight loss: Losing weight to reduce stress on the joints, resulting in less pain and increased function.

See you’re doctor: If you have (or suspect you have) foot arthritis, have your feet checked by a podiatrist at least once a year.

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33484



2900 N. Military Trail #205, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (SOUTH BLDG)



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472




General Podiatry

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