Here's How Arthritis Affects Your Feet

Arthritis refers to more than 100 different types of inflammatory conditions that can occur in any of your joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, when protective cartilage degrades over time, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an immune disorder that causes your body to attack its own healthy tissues. You can also develop arthritis after an injury, particularly a bone fracture that damages the surface of a joint.

If you’re one of the more than 54 million American women and men with arthritis, you may already have trouble getting through daily tasks because of joint pain and stiffness. When arthritis affects any of the more than 30 joints in each foot and ankle that support your body, however, you’re at risk for complications that affect your ability to walk and live a normal, active life.

The expert podiatrists at Animas Foot and Ankle, with multiple locations in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, subdue the inflammation and pain of foot and ankle arthritis with state-of-the-art treatments. Treating your foot and ankle arthritis helps you maintain stability and strength over the long term, avoiding complications such as those listed below. 

Falls and balance problems

When you have arthritis in your foot and ankle, your joints aren’t the only part of your feet that are affected. The inflammation in arthritis also degrades soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, that are responsible for keeping your feet and ankles stable and strong. 

Your podiatrist might recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your feet. You might benefit from an ankle or foot brace that keeps you stable and minimizes pain, or an assistive device such as a cane for extra balance. Custom orthotics that fit in your shoes can align your foot bones properly and reduce your risk of a fall.

Bone spurs

Cartilage is a protective tissue that keeps your joint bones cushioned and separate. Over time, though, osteoarthritis wears down the cartilage so that your bones start to rub against one another. In addition to causing pain and stiffness, the constant friction of bone on bone can create bone spurs.

Bone spurs are sharp, bony protrusions on your joints. Sometimes a bone spur presses on a nerve, causing intense, excruciating pain. If you have bone spurs, symptoms could include:

Untreated, bone spurs worsen over time. The best option is to prevent them from developing by minimizing inflammation and strengthening your feet with physical therapy or exercise. In severe cases, you may need surgery to remove a bone spur. 

Foot deformities

If you have RA, the constant attack on your joints makes them swell and gradually degrades your foot bones, ligaments, and tendons.  Some foot deformities that occur with RA include:

Foot deformities change the way you walk, which can throw your entire body out of alignment.  Our experts may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics or surgery to correct the deformity.

The sooner you treat foot arthritis, the more likely you are to avoid complications that require surgery. Depending on your needs, our team may recommend minimally invasive therapies such as:

To restore health and balance to your feet and ankles despite arthritis, contact us today. You can reach our expert podiatrists by calling one of our offices or booking an appointment online. 







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