Arthritis of the foot or ankle can lead to pain, deformity, and difficulty walking. At Dan Preece, DPM & Darren Groberg, DPM, a branch of Utah Musculoskeletal Specialists, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the team uses a variety of treatments to reduce pain and inflammation caused by foot and ankle arthritis. Early intervention can help improve your joint function and mobility. To learn more, call the experts at Dan Preece, DPM & Darren Groberg, DPM, or book an appointment online today.
Arthritis is a term used to describe more than 100 diseases, but it’s characterized by chronic joint inflammation. These conditions can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain around your joints, the tissues around the joints, and other surrounding connective tissues.
The most common type of arthritis found in the foot and ankle is called osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease caused by wear-and-tear. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in one or more joints. Cartilage — the connective tissue found at the end of the bones in the joints — protects and cushions the bones during movement.
When cartilage deteriorates or is lost, it can result in pain, reduced mobility, restricted range of motion, and general discomfort.
Osteoarthritis can happen in any joint in the body, but it’s most commonly found in the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. When osteoarthritis affects the foot, it usually impacts the big toe, midfoot, or ankle.
In most cases, osteoarthritis develops slowly after an injury, such as stubbing your toe, dropping something on your foot, or spraining your ankle. However, it can also be caused by poor foot mechanics, like high arches or flat feet.
If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
A bone spur is a tiny protrusion of the bone that can limit your joint’s range of motion. Not only are bone spurs worsened by shoe pressure, they may also lead to blisters and calluses.
The team thoroughly examines your feet to check for signs of joint swelling, limited mobility, pain, and deformity before confirming your diagnosis with X-ray imaging.
Once you have a confirmed osteoarthritis diagnosis, the team may recommend the following treatments:
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to realign your foot and ankle to correct imbalances. The team at Dan Preece, DPM & Darren Groberg, DPM, makes these custom orthotics in-house, so you never have to leave the office for your treatment.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation to relieve chronic joint pain.
Bracing stabilizes and restricts movement in the joint to reduce pain when you’re walking and prevent inflammation.
A cast can completely restrict the joint from movement while it heals to reduce swelling and inflammation.
If your pain is severe, the team can inject anti-inflammatory steroid medication directly into the joint for relief.
Strengthening your muscles through specialized exercises can relieve pressure from your joints, improve stability, and prevent reinjury.
Surgery is only recommended if previous treatments have failed to reduce your joint pain. The team evaluates your joint function, reviews your medical history, and takes certain lifestyle factors into consideration before selecting a procedure.
Early intervention can slow the progression of arthritis. To learn more, call the experts at Dan Preece, DPM & Darren Groberg, DPM, or book an appointment online today.