Foot Arthritis treatment

Arthritis is the inflammation and swelling of the tissues surrounding the joint with the associated deterioration of the cartilage.

There are many types of foot arthritis; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gouty arthritis. This page will focus on osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage within the joint. The joint cartilage is a spongy tissue that covers the ends of the bones in a joint.

Healthy cartilage helps with shock absorption and allows the bones to glide over each other. When the cartilage wears down, this exposes the underlying bone.

The exposed bones cause painful and limited joint movement. Bone spurs may develop on the surrounding joint area. Inflammation is not believed to play much of a role in osteoarthritis. Mouse over the image to the right to see the deterioration in the joint.

Ways to Relieve Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Better ways of arthritis pain management are being continuously hunted to bring maximum relief. As the goal is to get relief, sufferers always are in a hurry to try many different arthritis pain management ways so that they know what works best for them.

However, know that if a way is beneficial for one person, it might not be that effective for the other. The main pain management ways are medications, exercises, hydrotherapy, rest, TENS, and surgery.

1. Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory Drugs

These surely are great relievers in case of arthritis pain. However, they carry some potential after-effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach pain. The most preferred pain medications are NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics, including narcotic painkillers.

These medicines give you some amount of comfort but do not improve the overall state of arthritis. Due to their after effects, their dosage and duration must be controlled.

2. Get a Soothing  Massage

foot massage

Massage is one of the best arthritis pain management ways to recover from pain, smoothen the stiff and inflamed muscles, and decrease inflammation. With increased circulation and relaxed muscles, the pain subsides.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Get Plenty of Rest

Pain is one of the parameters that tell you about the need for rest. You need to heed this signal and let the body rest so that its energy cells get recharged properly. Too much activeness is not good in this pain.

When you rest, it has been proved that inflammation reduces to a considerable extent. But, rest adequately – avoid too much or no rest at all as extreme rest leads to muscle weakness. So, get the balance!

4. Use a Magnetic Ankle Bracelet

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Made from copper, titanium, or real silver, magnetic bracelets possess effective magnetic properties that greatly help arthritis relief. The Magnetic properties increase blood circulation in the ankle region.

5. Stretch your Feet

Stretch your Feet

Daily exercises ensure muscle flexibility, normal function, and less pain. It is always recommended that people with arthritis must always make an exercise plan by consulting their doctors. A few exercises might not be appropriate for people with swollen joints.

6. Hydrotherapy

A dip in warm water is just the perfect remedy to ease joint pain. Hydrotherapy is nothing but water therapy that greatly aids in reducing stiffness and pain.

Find a foot spa, warm pool, or hot tub where exercising in hot water takes away the burden of pain. Relief is mostly achieved because of the movement and heat given by the body movements and warm water.

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7. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Units

TENS uses a low-voltage stimulation applied to the nerves to prevent the pain signals from reaching the brain.

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This electrical charge is given via electrodes instilled on the skin and is useful for treating chronic or intractable pain.

8. Surgery as Last Resort

Surgery for Arthritis

Surgery is the last choice when no other method works. Surgery aims at discarding pain from a particular joint.

One such common surgery is the joint replacement surgery which is feasible too in which the damaged joint is discarded and replaced by a prosthesis. Some more surgical options are arthrodesis (fusion), re-section, synovectomy, and arthroscopy.

Common Warning Symptoms of Foot Arthritis

1. Pain or tenderness in joints: One of the earliest symptoms is pain or tenderness in the affected joints. Such painful joints can acquire many types and forms, such as typical joint pain/tenderness, joint aching, joint swelling, tender joint, and/or swollen joint.

In a national survey of 212,510 adults (over 18 years old) in the United States, arthritis or chronic joint pain, ache, stiffness, or swelling affected one in three adults. Arthritic joint pain is usually not continuous, i.e., it can come and go and is generally associated with the movement of the affected joints.

2. Stiffness in joints: Difficulty in moving the affected joints has been historically associated with arthritis. It is also known as joint stiffness or rigidity, depending on the patient’s condition. Joint stiffness in the morning or after rest, in particular, is a classical sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Swelling in joints: Similarly, joint swelling on examination can most significantly distinguish between inflammatory and non-inflammatory joint disease. Clinically or medically known as “edema,” joint swelling is a typical and common sign of inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients typically report the increased temperature in the painful limb and intermittent redness and swelling on or around the affected joints.

Do flexibility workouts help in arthritis?

Physiotherapists, clinicians, and health care experts have strongly urged, for years, that patients with arthritis regularly practice and perform flexibility exercises to help improve their symptoms and range of motion and reduce some of the pain, rigidity, immobility, and stiffness in the arthritis-affected joints and bones.

For the same reason, the term “flexibility exercises” is often used interchangeably with the words “stretching” workouts or “range of motion exercises.”

Explaining flexibility exercises

By their very definition, flexibility workouts help maintain normal and optimal joint working by enhancing and preserving key joint functions such as flexibility and mobility.

All such exercises aim to gently straighten and bend the joints in a well-controlled motion as far as they comfortably can be. These movements will help condition the swollen, tender joints in arthritis.

Hence, during a standard flexibility exercise, the joints are stretched gradually, slowly, and yet progressively farther (maintaining the convenience level of the user) until the normal or near-normal range is obtained and maintained.

Recommended frequency of flexibility exercises in arthritis

While there is no fixed, single recommended frequency of performing any activities in arthritis, it is generally believed that you should perform flexibility exercises daily.

However, special consideration should be given that not all exercises can be performed with equal comfort by all age groups affected by arthritis. Therefore, any flexible workout should be left exclusively to the user. Any patient, therefore, must take their own time with these exercises and never stretch to the point of pain or difficulty in movements.

Benefits of Flexibility Exercises in Foot Arthritis

These exercises have both a corrective (therapeutic) and a preventive role in arthritis.

  • They also work to decrease the psychological and emotional pain associated with chronic, debilitating illnesses such as arthritis.
  • These exercises will help reduce your risk of injury and limber up those joints that have been stiffened by arthritis.
  • These workouts will also boost your cardiovascular efficiency (pumping and working efficiency of your heart).
  • These exercises provide direct and prompt relief of bothersome symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, stiffening, and inflammation.
  • They also improve the overall sense of “general well-being” in chronic (long-term) patients with arthritis.

5 Myths About Arthritis

#1: Arthritis is a Temporary, Minor Ailment

Fact: Arthritis is a “major,” severely debilitating chronic disease that often lasts forever (for a lifetime). Also, arthritis is the number 2 crippling disease of Americans after heart disease.

However, fortunately, if diagnosed and managed early and properly, arthritis is a fully controllable and manageable condition.

#2″ Arthritis is the disease of women

Fact: It is, indeed, true that in every age group, the proportion of women who have arthritis is substantially higher than the proportion of men with the condition.

For example, almost two-thirds of all Americans living with arthritis are women in the US alone. However, arthritis is also common in men, and about 18.1 % of men (in every age group) are affected by this problem.

#3: Arthritis is a Single Disease

Fact: While arthritis literally means “joint inflammation,” it is generally used to refer to a family of more than “100 different conditions or disorders” that affect the joints and may also affect muscles and other tissues. The most common of these are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

#4: Arthritis refers to Joint Pain

Fact: While joint pain is perhaps, the most common and influential symptom of arthritis, it is just a “symptom” and not the disease itself. The other common symptoms (signs) of arthritis within a joint include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Redness
  • Warmth

#5: Only Older Adults Get Arthritis

Fact: While it is true that, according to the current estimates, more than 50 percent of people over age sixty-five have clinical signs of arthritis, it does not mean this condition does not occur in young or middle-aged people. It can even occur in infants and children.

The terms Idiopathic Arthritis of Childhood (IAC) or Juvenile Arthritis (JA) are well known in the medical community.

Juvenile Arthritis is used as an ‘umbrella’ term for arthritis in childhood and is the diagnosis when the child’s symptoms occur between birth and sixteen years of age.

Similarly, many middle-aged men and women, especially those in their forties and fifties, can also get the arthritis problem.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to successfully manage the signs and symptoms of foot arthritis and completely control its further progress, it is essential to understand arthritis as a disease properly. Differentiating between myths and facts is, therefore, necessary for everyone.

Once you know the difference between these myths and facts, you can regain your mobility, activity, and active lifestyle and also prevent any complications of arthritis in the future.