What Kinds Of Arthritis Affect The Foot And Ankle
Arthritis can occur in many different forms, each with different causes. We treat patients suffering from numerous types of arthritis in the feet, including:
- Osteoarthritis in feet or ankles: The natural aging process can wear away at the cartilage between the bones connecting your ankle and foot, causing inflammation and pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis in feet or ankles: This immune system dysfunction attacks and wears away at the cartilage lining between the bones in your ankles and feet.
- Post-traumatic arthritis in feet or ankles: This is a form of osteoarthritis that results from an injury to the ankle area. This can develop even years after the original injury.
Arthritis Of The Ankle
Ankle arthritis occurs when there is a breakdown of cartilage in the ankle joint. It can result from a variety of causes, including trauma , autoimmune diseases or infection. In most cases, ankle arthritis is due to the degeneration of the cartilage from an old injury.
If you have or suspect you have ankle arthritis, University of Michigan South Main Orthopaedics can provide you with a complete diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. Experience is crucial in treating ankle arthritis, and we see many patients with complicated foot and ankle conditions.
Contact Us/make An Appointment By Calling
- Orthopaedics, 734-936-5780
- Rheumatology Services, 888-229-3065
Selecting a health care provider is a very important decision. Because we are highly experienced in treating ankle arthritis, we would like to help you explore your options. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of clinics and their contact information. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about how we can help.
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How To Manage Foot And Ankle Pain Caused By Arthritis
There are many different ways to manage foot and ankle pain caused by arthritis. Some common management strategies include:
- Rest: take a break from activities that aggravate your symptoms.
- Ice: apply ice to the affected joints for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation.
- Compression: wear compression socks or wrap the affected joints in an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: keep the affected joints elevated above heart level to reduce swelling.
- Exercise: low-impact exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve range of motion.
- Wear supportive shoes: wear shoes that provide support and cushioning to the joints.
What Kind Of Doctor Can Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Foot And Ankle
If your primary care doctor suspects you have rheumatoid arthritis, they may refer you to a . It could also be that you have another, less inflammatory type of arthritis, but a rheumatologist is best able to make a diagnosis. If a rheumatologist determines you have osteoarthritis instead, they may recommend you meet with an who specializes in foot and ankle conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis patients who experience inflammation in the foot and ankle are often treated by a multidisciplinary team that includes their primary care physician, a rheumatologist, a and an orthopedist.
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How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
To determine whether arthritis is the cause of foot pain, a healthcare provider will start by asking about your symptoms, general health, and medical history. Next, you will be asked when and where the pain began and what worsens or improves symptoms.
The healthcare provider will also examine your foot and ankle for swelling and tenderness. You may be asked about your footwear to determine if your shoes provide sufficient support while walking.
A test called a gait analysis is generally included in the physical examination. The healthcare provider will want to observe how you walk with this test. The test also examines the line-up of the bones of the feet, your stride, and the strength of the ankles and feet.
Additional testing for foot arthritis includes:
- Imaging: X-rays can detect joint space narrowing , bone changes, joint damage, or bone spurs. Other types of imaging, including bone scans, computed tomography scans, or magnetic resonance imaging , might be done if X-rays cant pinpoint the source of symptoms.
- Bloodwork: Blood tests can help your healthcare provider determine what type of arthritis you might have. Different types of bloodwork can help diagnose RA, AS, or PsA.
- Joint fluid test: Your healthcare provider will use a needle to draw fluid from an affected joint to diagnose or rule out gout. Urate crystals are detectable when the joint fluid is examined under a microscope.
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What Our Patients Say
So thankful for Dr. Cutticas expertise and everyone I have interacted with up to and including my surgery and postop appointments. Ive recommended this practice to so many people.
Dr. Sanders was informative, listens, answers all questions, and stays with you until you feel you have all you need. Excellent care.
Dr. Neufeld is fantastic and his personality/bedside manner is stellar. The entire process was a breeze and very enjoyable. I am thrilled with the results and how quickly it all went.
Dr. Black was thorough and very considerate! I didnt feel any discomfort during the quick procedure Ill definitely be back for any other foot and ankle needs.
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Set A Weight Loss Goal
When it comes to arthritis, what your scale says really matters. People with a higher body weight are diagnosed with arthritis at an earlier age and have more severe arthritis. It makes sense: Feet are a weight-bearing joint, so obesity makes arthritis worse, says Dr. Domingues. Even one extra pound on your frame can equal about five extra pounds of force on your feet. Losing 20 pounds can mean sparing your feet from an extra 100 pounds of force with every stride.
Excess body weight also increases inflammation, which fuels the painful symptoms of inflammatory types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Its not easy to lose weight when you have stiff or sore joints, but even a five- to 10-percent reduction in body weight has been shown to dramatically diminish joint pain and improve exercise tolerance. Check out these weight loss tips that are especially helpful when you have arthritis.
How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Foot Be Treated Without Surgery
Orthopedic treatment may provide symptom relief but does not stop the disease process. Still, many patients will have symptom relief without surgery. One such option is a steroid injection. Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and pain in the short term. Your doctor may also prescribe disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs , such as methotrexate. There are also such as ibuprofen or naproxen which can reduce pain and inflammation. Always check with your doctor before you take any medication- even over the counter.
Sometimes, its the simple things such as rest or icing the joint that may be the most effective. Rest your foot by taking a break from things that make the pain worse. Place ice on the area of pain for 20 minutes. Always wrap the ice pack in a wash cloth or something so that it does not contact your skin directly.
Relief may also come from things you wear. Firm shoes with a wide toe box and arch support are usually best. An orthotic is a shoe insert that can help to reduce pressure and decrease pain and calluses from forming. Watch out for hard orthotics as they may actually cause more pain. A customized, prescription orthotic is made of softer material and best relieves pressure on the foot. If you need support at the back of foot and ankle, a lace-up ankle brace made of plastic or leather can help.
Depending on the damage to cartilage, your doctor may suggest surgery.
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Identifying The Signs Of Arthritis In Your Feet
When most people think about arthritis, major joints such as knees or hips usually come to mind. But the truth is that any joint in your body can become arthritic. And like any other joints, those in your ankles and feet can develop swelling and pain from arthritis. So, because May is Arthritis Awareness Month, today Dr. Ross Cohen of The Foot & Ankle Center of Maryland in Anne Arundel County, Maryland is sharing more information regarding arthritis of the ankles and feet.
What Are The Treatment Options
Treatment usually depends on what specific type of arthritis you have, and how severe it is. Our team will recommend any combination of non-surgical and surgical treatment options designed to ease your pain and improve your ability to move and walk. Treatment options that do not involve surgery may include:
Canes or braces
If conservative treatment options do not improve your condition, we may recommend surgery. Our surgeons are experienced in the most advanced and innovative procedures for ankle arthritis treatment, including:
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Why Do I Have Pain In My Foot Or Ankle
Most people experience pain in and around their feet or ankles at some point in their lives.
Its one of the most complex, hard-working regions of your body. It has 26 bones and 33 small joints, all held together by a network of soft tissue made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.
Most cases of foot or ankle pain are short term and are caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains.
These should gradually heal with the help of simple self-care measures. Though some could take a few months to fully recover, you probably wont need to seek treatment from a healthcare professional.
However, some pain can have no obvious cause or may not improve significantly with self-care.
Pain that seems to be getting worse, does not improve, or lasts longer than a few months could be due to structural changes in the foot or ankle, or an underlying condition.
There can be several explanations for long-term pain in and around the feet or ankles, such as:
- badly fitting footwear
Table Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Of The Foot And Ankle
|Part of the foot|
|Top of the foot.||Ligaments that support the midfoot become weak, and this can lead to collapsed arches. .||Once the arch collapses, the front of the foot may start to point outward. RA also damages the cartilage, causing arthritic pain. Over time, the shape of foot can change. For example, large bony bump on the arch can appear.|
|Forefoot||Toes and ball of feet.||Changes include bunions, claw toes, and pain under ball of foot. While each of these is common, in RA the problem is compounded as they are combined.||The bunion is usually severe, and the big toe crosses over the second toe. There can be painful bumps on the ball of the foot causing calluses. These bumps occur when bones in the midfoot are pushed down from joint dislocations in the toes. Dislocations of toes 2-5 cause them to become prominent on the top of the foot, creating claw toes that become fixed and rigid. In severe cases, ulcers can form from the abnormal pressure.|
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See Your Doctor For Arthritis In The Feet
If you have arthritis in your feet, have your feet checked by a rheumatologist or podiatrist at least once a year, Dr. Frisch says.
We recommend yearly visits to be sure there arent any changes in your feet and to see whether any devices you may have been given, such as braces or orthotics, are working appropriately,â says Frisch. âAnd if youre having pain, dont wait for your yearly visit. See your doctor right away.
Ankle Fracture Treatment Self
If you suspect a fracture, you should call your doctor or go to a hospital’s emergency department immediately. You can do the following until you can get to a hospital or doctor’s office:
- Stay off the injured ankle so you do not injure it further.
- Keep the ankle elevated to help decrease swelling and pain.
- Apply cold packs to the injured area to decrease swelling and pain. Do not apply ice directly. Cold packs are effective for up to 48 hours.
Ibuprofen may be ideal for ankle injuries because it acts as both a pain medicine and a medicine to keep inflammation down. But check with your doctor first if you have any medical problems or take any other medicines or supplements.
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Summary Of Ankle Arthritis
Ankle arthritis is a result of damaged or worn cartilage at the joint that connects the foot to the leg. It may be the result of injury, wear and tear, deformity or inflammation. In the early stages, activity modification, weight loss, rest and acetaminophen are the primary treatment strategies. As the arthritis progresses, bracing and physical therapy may be needed. Surgery can be successful in treating ankle arthritis when it does not respond to non-surgical management.
Where Should I Seek Care
Here at Foot & Ankle Associates of South Florida, we take pride in helping our patients find the relief they deserve. If you are suffering from chronic rheumatoid arthritis pain in your feet, dont wait another day to seek care. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Foot & Ankle Associates of South Florida
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Who Can Help Me With My Arthritis
A foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon can diagnose and treat your arthritis. In addition to your orthopaedic surgeon, other healthcare professionals may care for you, including a rheumatologist , physiatrist , pedorthist , physical therapist, orthotist , occupational therapist, nurse and/or clinical social worker.
Community resources also are available to people with arthritis. Local chapters of the Arthritis Foundation offer exercise programs, educational information and support groups.
You also play an active role in your treatment. Seek treatment for arthritis as early as possible to help control pain and reduce damage to joints. Take medications as directed, exercise, control your weight, and participate in all aspects of your care. If you have questions about the need for a test, or the risks or benefits of your treatment, ask your doctor. Even with the best treatment, arthritis of the foot and ankle may continue to cause you pain or changes in your activities. However, proper diagnosis and treatment will help to minimize these limitations and allow you to lead a productive, active lifestyle.
Contributors/Reviewers: David Lee, MD Elizabeth Cody, MD John Early, MD
Coping With Arthritic Feet
- Steroid medications to be injected into the affected joints
- Custom-made shoes, shoe inserts, or arch supports to support your ankles and feet
- Physical therapy that includes foot exercises and stretches
Your doctor might recommend surgery if other treatments dont work to manage foot and ankle arthritis. Surgical options might include:
- Arthrodesis: Also called fusion surgery, this involves fusing bones together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. When bones heal, the bones will stay joined.
- Joint replacement surgery: Also called arthroplasty, this surgery is used only in severe cases. The surgeon will take out damaged bones and cartilage and replace them with metal and plastic.
Home remedies you can try to help you cope with arthritic feet include:
- Creams containing capsaicin or menthol: These creams may stop the nerves from sending out pain signals.
- Hot or cold packs in the affected areas
- Gentle exercises, including yoga and tai chi
Making changes to your lifestyle can also help you to feel better and keep arthritis in your feet from getting worse. Lifestyle changes might include choosing low-impact exercises like swimming rather than high-impact ones , maintaining a healthy weight to keep stress off joints, and reducing or avoiding activities that trigger symptoms in the feet and ankles.
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How Arthritis Affects The Feet
Arthritis can affect anyone, but it becomes increasingly common with age. Thats because joints break down over the years and the protective cartilage that keeps bones from rubbing together begins wearing away.
Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is diagnosed when the cartilage in the joints deteriorates with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed if your immune system continuously attacks the linings of joints, including those in the feet.
Without cushioning, your bones grind against each other when you move. The surrounding tissue gets inflamed, causing pain and stiffness. The main joints in your feet that arthritis often attacks include the:
- Joint of ankle and shin bone
- Joints connecting heel and midfoot bones
Pain associated with foot arthritis can negatively affect your mobility. You might find yourself walking and standing less, and in turn, you lose strength and flexibility in your feet that makes the condition worse.
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Make Sure The Shape Of Your Shoes Matches The Shape Of Your Feet
That may mean a roomy toe box to accommodate bunions or hammertoes, or an extra-wide shoe to reduce pressure on painful spots. Sturdy, supportive shoes are crucial to ease arthritis foot pain. Custom orthotics or a good over-the-counter shoe insert can provide even more comfort and extra support, adds Dr. Sachs. These inserts can help rebalance the foot, give your arch more support, and help cushion the ball of your foot. Talk to your doctor to determine the best footwear for you. Here are more tips for picking the right shoes when you have arthritis.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis And Foot Care
You may be familiar with rheumatoid arthritis and how it affects your bodys joints, but did you know that it can affect your feet? Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and can affect many different parts of the body, and the feet are no exception. In fact, nearly 90% of people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis report having issues with their feet. We want to help educate our patients on how to identify signs of rheumatoid arthritis in the feet so that they can properly know when and how to seek medical care and prevent future flare-ups.