Published: Nov. 11, 2010
Updated: Nov. 11, 2010
Foot arthritis is a common form of arthritis. Severe foot arthritis can restrict your mobility and limit your quality of life. With proper treatment, however, you can slow the progression of arthritis and lead a more productive life.
There are three types of arthritis that may affect your foot.
There are 26 bones and over 30 joints in a foot. Symptoms of foot arthritis vary, depending on what joint is affected. These symptoms may include:
A physical examination of the foot, with focus on pain, will help your doctor with diagnosis.
A review of your medical history will also help your doctor understand if your symptoms are a result of a past foot injury, or if arthritis runs in your family.
X-ray imaging can show changes in the spacing between bones or in the shape of the bones, and also rule out other underlying conditions like fracture. Other imaging tools, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may also assist in diagnosis.
Symptoms of arthritis may be relieved with improved (wider and less restrictive) footwear and orthodics, such as shoe inserts or arch supports, which may offer your feet padding and shielding. In some cases, custom-made shoes may be recommended.
Anti-inflammatory medicines -- such as aspirin or ibuprofen -- or cortisone injections may also be prescribed by your doctor.
Physical therapy, weight control, and nutritional supplements may also be recommended.
When nonsurgical treatments are no longer effective, surgery may be considered.