Mar 30 2017
If you suffer from arthritis in your feet or ankles, you may wonder how and why it happened. If you find comfort in the adage that misery loves company, you’ll feel better knowing that there are over 100 types of arthritis that afflict the ankles and feet and that approximately 12 percent of Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. The odds of developing arthritis increase as you age. Your risk of foot arthritis also increases due to an injury, with obesity, and if the condition runs in your family.
You probably know that, unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are many things you can do to reduce the symptoms and even slow down the degenerative process. Depending upon the severity of the arthritic symptoms, you may be able to control your pain and disability with:
- Heating pads, warm footbaths, or massage (if you do not have nerve damage or numbness)
- Painkillers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) to care for more serious pain
- Specially-designed footwear
Footwear for Arthritis
One of the most helpful things to do for alleviating pain and improving mobility is to wear functional shoes that are designed to reduce stress at the joints of the feet and alleviate discomfort at the knees, hips, and back.
Here’s what you should look for in functional footwear for arthritis:
- Comfortable arch support
- Pressure distribution of body weight on the bottom of the foot
- Extra cushioning across the foot
- Help relieve stress on the joints
- Reduce pronation and foot deformities
- Improve the alignment of body posture
- Reduce pressure points on the bottom of the foot
- Mild Rocker design
- Soft & Cushioning midsole
- Softens step
- Eases impacts on the foot
- Helps propel foot forward with minimal joints motion
- Adds spring to your step
Extra Depth Design
- Accommodates thick insoles and orthotics
- Offers a loose, comfortable fit
- Eliminates pressure on the foot
- Provides extra room for toe movement
Non-Binding Upper Construction
- Soft upper materials
- No overlays across the bunions and toe box
- Eliminates pressure points on the foot
Protective Interior Lining
- Seam-free design
- Soft fabric interior
- Extra foam padding
- Offers a gentle contact with the foot
- Eliminates pressure points
- Provides comfort and protection.
- Allow the shoe to conform to the contours of the foot
- Offer a loose, customized fit
- Eliminate pressure points on the foot
Click here to find out more on how Orthofeet shoes can help arthritis sufferers.
Let’s take a look at the most common forms of foot arthritis and what you can do to manage your condition.
Consider the years of walking, running, swimming, and bending for which 28 bones in each of your feet have provided support, and it’s easy to imagine the wear and tear they have endured thus far. For many people, the cartilage and fluid lining that lubricate the ends of each bone has been wearing away with age, causing the onset of osteoarthritis, which is characterized by joint tenderness, bone-on-bone pain, and bone spurs.
As its name implies, posttraumatic arthritis is brought on by an injury to the foot or ankle. It commonly occurs in the big toe caused by a jamming or breaking it or in the ankle from a severe sprain or fracture. Arthritis symptoms can occur many years after the damage is done. Other than being caused by an injury, the symptoms and treatments are the same as those for osteoarthritis. A medical provider, such as a podiatrist or rheumatologist, can provide medications to help you manage osteoarthritis:
- Over-the-counter medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics to help reduce swelling and pain.
- For severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe cortico-steroid pills to reduce inflammation.
- Your doctor may recommend a steroid cream or injection, which applies anti-inflammatory medication directly to the afflicted joint(s).
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the lining of your joints and afflicts the entire body. The painful symptoms often begin in the feet. It can stem from an internal trigger, such as an infection, which mistakenly activates the immune system to attack the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis requires aggressive medical care to manage the potentially serious symptoms. In addition to the treatment recommended by a rheumatologist, the Mayo Clinic recommends a home regimen of exercise and relaxation to maintain strength, fight fatigue, and reduce stress.
Gout is a form of arthritis that strikes people (more often men than women) with high levels of uric acid in their blood. The excess uric acid crystals settle around the joints of the big toe, causing intense pain and inflammation. You can reduce the risk of gout by managing the uric acid levels in your body through diet and weight management.
For all types of arthritis, the correct shoe will reduce pain and prevent joint deformity. When selecting shoes, make sure they provide a fit that will accommodate any orthotics you need to wear, such as braces, insoles, or a cast boot. If you’re afflicted with toe arthritis, such as gout, make sure your shoe has a high and wide toe box to accommodate joint swelling and to allow room for gel toe supports.