Diabetics are not the only ones to suffer foot pain, people with arthritis are also prone to foot pain. Due to the fact that the foot has 33 joints, it is especially prone to arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, and often includes an increase of joint fluid. Walking and moving is often extremely difficult for those with arthritis foot pain.
What causes arthritis foot pain? There are different causes, but those that put a person at greater risk include:
- Injury and strain not properly taken care of
- Bacteria and viral infections
- Certain disorders such as ileitis and colitis
- Certain prescription drugs and illegal drug use
In addition to the above causes, there are two forms of arthritis that can lead to foot pain:
1. Rheumatoid arthritis - This is a systemic disease that causes non-specific inflammation of joints belonging to the hands and feet. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may result in the destruction of the joints and cause serious, chronic foot problems including hammertoes, bunions, etc.
2. Osteoarthritis - This is a degenerative form of arthritis, and it often affects more than one joint. Osteoarthritis is more common among the elderly, obese or those who've suffered a physical trauma. Osteoarthritis can cause changes in the foot bones such as cartilage destruction, spurs, narrowing of joint space and cystic changes.
How can arthritis foot pain be treated? Arthritis foot pain shouldn't be ignored, and should be treated as soon as possible. The following are 10 treatments you can try to help relieve inflammation and pain, as well as improve the flexibility of joints -
1. Exercises - Stretching, range of motion, and functional exercises are all ideal for preventing arthritis foot pain. These exercise help to improve blood flow to the feet, improve flexibility, and keep bones and muscles strong. It's best to ask your podiatrist to recommend exercises.
2. Lose weight - Weight puts plenty of stress and strain on your joints. If you are overweight, shedding excess pounds can make a significant difference to your feet.
3. Supportive footwear - It is imperative that you invest in shoes that provide your foot with support, and feature a high, wide toe box. Shoes with rocker-bottom soles are a good choice for those suffering from heel pain. You should avoid wearing high heel shoes and shoes with pointed toes. In fact, it's a good idea to have your shoes custom made or ask a podiatrist for recommendations.
You should also consider acquiring removable insoles or orthotics for your shoes to provide your foot with more support.
4. Knee, ankle and foot supports - Tensor bandages and braces that provide mild compression and support can help reduce stress placed on the joint.
5. Heat/cold therapy - Applying heating pads or ice packs to the inflamed joint can help relieve inflammation and sooth the aching joint.
6. Physical therapy - Talk to your doctor about physical therapy treatment.
7. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements - These supplements help to slow the deterioration of cartilage between joint bones and reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about these supplements before taking them.
8. Over-the-counter pain medication - If you are suffering from pain due to joint inflammation, common over-the-counter medications that may be effective at reducing inflammation and pain include aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
9. Anti-inflammatory creams and topical ointments - There are topical medications that help relieve acute pain (I.E. "JointFlex"), and those that relieve pain and reduce inflammation (I.E. "Aspercreme").
10. Surgery - Those who suffer from severe, disabling foot pain may require surgery to realign or replace joints.
Finally, remember that it is not normal for joints to hurt anywhere in your body. If you are experiencing frequent or recurring foot pain, it's time to visit your doctor.