Arthritis in Your Feet: When Cartilage Degenerates

Most things wear out as they get older. Clothes fade, refrigerators don’t keep things cold, and piston rings in your car engine leak oil and send a cloud of grey smoke from your exhaust pipe. Our bodies start to have more problems as we age, too. One of them is developing arthritis in the joints of our feet and ankles.

When “Arthur” Comes Calling

People try to make the best of the situation, joking about how “old Arthur” is paying them a visit, but the pain of this condition is no laughing matter. The type that is associated with old age is called osteoarthritis. It occurs when wear and tear on the joints causes the cartilage to degrade, and you end up with bone moving on bone. The joint tissues then become inflamed and swollen, and the pressure causes pain.

There are many other types of this disease. With rheumatoid arthritis, a triggers your immune system attacks your cartilage. In the post-traumatic (osteoarthritis), you develop symptoms in a joint that has been injured in the past, such as with a sprain or a fracture. Another form (gout) can cause uric acid crystals to build up in your joints, causing redness, swelling, and needle-like pain. There is even a type called reactive arthritis, where another infection such as a UTI can cause your joints to become swollen and painful.

Where It Happens and What It Feels Like

This disease can affect any joint, anywhere in your body. When it happens in your feet, the most likely spots are the bones around your ankle and back of your foot. Gout commonly affects the base of your big toe, making any movement of the toe extremely painful.

You will notice pain and tenderness first. The area may feel stiff, swell up, may become red and feel warm to the touch, making it difficult to move. You may find yourself avoiding activity because of the discomfort. If you notice these symptoms, come in to Country Foot Care and let us have a look. We will examine your feet and ankles and ask questions about your pain: when it happens, how severe it is, whether it comes and goes with activity, and whether it’s worse at night.

We will have you stand and walk to analyze your gait. We will also use imaging tests to evaluate your joints. Weight-bearing X-rays can tell us a lot about how your bones are functioning, and CT scans and MRIs show what’s happening with your tissues.

Showing Arthritis Pain the Door

You may equate this disease with joint replacement surgery, but there are many ways to treat this complicated disease without such invasive procedures. We can prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as steroid injections into the joint, to help relieve your symptoms. Many times, a good orthotic device or custom shoe can correct imbalances and relieve pressure on sensitive spots. Using a cane or brace can also keep weight off a painful joint. Using physical therapy such as exercises and stretches may help strengthen your muscles and bones. Keeping your weight at a normal level and getting proper nutrition are also important strategies for dealing with this condition.

In severe cases, joint replacement or other surgical procedures can bring new life to your limbs and allow you to do many activities that you couldn’t before. If surgery is right for your situation, we will provide excellent care and skill throughout the process. Contact Country Foot Care in New York by calling (516) 741-3338. We combine cutting edge treatment methods with good old-fashioned caring to find the best solutions for any podiatric issue you may have.