Osteoarthritis and Your Feet

Arthritis is the general term for joint inflammation. It can affect any of the 360 joints in your body, but when it hits your foot or ankle, the pain and stiffness can really slow you down. Walking can become painful and difficult. Running may become out of the question. Unless you take steps to treat arthritis, you run the risk of entering a bad cycle where you can’t walk so you don’t walk – leading to depression, obesity, heart disease, and other grave conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

That’s why it’s so important for our patients with arthritis to make an appointment with Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland at least once a year. Megan L. Oltmann, DPM and Craig B. Frey, DPM will help you manage your arthritis pain so you can get keep moving throughout your day, hopefully for years to come.

Two types of arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that strikes people of all ages, although it’s most commonly diagnosed after age 30. Small joints in your ankles and toes become inflamed, and – as with many autoimmune diseases in which the body suddenly starts attacking itself – the cause is not really clear. Pain and stiffness are managed mainly through medication.

Osteoarthritis is a product of aging. Sorry, folks, but the older you are, the more likely it is that you’re going to develop it. Osteoarthritis is a wearing down of the cartilage in a joint. Cartilage protects one bone from the other, so when it’s worn down, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain.

Treating osteoarthritis

Dr. Frey and Dr. Oltmann will confirm the diagnosis of arthritis by examination and x-rays. We have digital x-ray machines on site, so we can x-ray your foot or ankle in the same visit as your exam. X-rays will show the extent of your joint deterioration and help us determine what treatment is next. It may include

  • Over-the-counter or prescription medication to reduce inflammation
  • Exercises you can do at home to increase flexibility and strength
  • Orthotics (shoe inserts) designed to take the pressure off of the painful joint
  • Physical therapy to target the affected joints

If you’re slowed down by pain or stiffness in any of the 30+ joints in your feet, visit the foot and ankle experts of Cuyahoga County. We’ll give you an individualized treatment plan, managing your arthritis with medical best practices in our conveniently-located office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.