Arthritis in the simplest terms means inflammation of a joint. The foot has at least 40 different joints. Arthritis that is not treated early can start to wear away the bone and cartilage (the soft covering on the bone ends at the joint that allow them to glide past each other). This can be easily seen on x-rays.
There are many causes of arthritis, but degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis), the most common, is caused by the structure of your foot AND the way it functions and also can be traumatically induced. Although degenerative arthritis is not considered hereditary, the structure of your foot and to some extent the way it functions is inherited.
Signs and Symptoms
- Initially pain and swelling occur
- Bony prominence over a joint that becomes larger over time
- Joint dislocation
- Grinding of the or “creaking” of a the joint
- Limited motion in a joint
The goal of treating arthritic foot pain is to help minimize or eliminate discomfort when wearing shoes and walking.
- Immobilization of the painful joint with ankle brace, orthotics, or an ankle-foot orthotic
- Pain management with oral and topical medications
- Cortisone injections
- Supportive, comfortable shoes
- Surgery is performed in advanced arthritic cases
It is important to understand that once your joint has been destroyed by arthritis, surgery becomes the only treatment option. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to preserve your joints and make sure you are able to remain pain-free and active into your golden years.