Walking around shouldn’t make your feet hurt. And yet, thousands of people experience foot pain every day, even though podiatrists like ours exist to provide relief! One of the many sources of constant, persistent foot pain is arthritis. Since May is Arthritis Awareness Month, it seems like a good time to take a closer look at how arthritis affects the feet and ankles – and how our expert podiatrists can help.
What is arthritis, anyway?
There are several types of arthritis, but the type we commonly see in the feet and ankles is known as “wear-and-tear.” It’s also called osteoarthritis because it involves bones rubbing against bones (“osteo“ means “bone”).
As the saying goes, the leg bone is connected to the ankle bone – but not directly.
Cartilage separates bones within our joints, providing protective cushioning and facilitating smooth movement. Take away the cartilage, and bone crunches against bone. That’s the source of arthritis pain. Certainly, nobody intentionally removes cartilage from your joints. Rather, it wears away over time and use. Damage to cartilage can also occur from an accident or trauma, such as a sprained ankle.
Treatments for foot or ankle arthritis
Arthritis is a progressive disease. For best results, it’s good to catch the degenerative process early on. Once we diagnose your foot or ankle arthritis, there are several ways to manage the pain and even slow down the disease’s progression:
- Custom orthotics can take the strain off the affected joints.
- If you’re overweight, losing some pounds can lighten the burden on your joints.
- Staying active will strengthen the muscles surrounding your weakened joints.
- Physical therapy targets specific areas that need strengthening.
- Anti-inflammatory medications reduce swelling and pain.
In some cases, our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, Dr. Jim Swienconek, Dr. Rachel Robinson, and Dr. Courtney Yoder, might also recommend surgery to repair your damaged toe, foot, or ankle joints. Let us advise you on the best ways to relieve your arthritis pain. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.