How to Manage Arthritis in Feet
You are experiencing a pain in your knuckles, knees, ankles or toes and so you go to the doctor. After some blood work and x-rays the doctor tells you, “You have arthritis.” Hearing that can seem as vague as being told you have a virus. It is not very helpful or specific information.
Once you have been told you have arthritis you will need to explore further to see what type and what is recommended for treatment. Simply put, arthritis is joint inflammation. There is usually swelling and inflammation around and in the joints of the body that are surrounded by soft tissue. This can cause stiffness and pain. There are over a hundred types of arthritic diseases.
Some people can develop these symptoms when they are younger, but that can often be associated with something like juvenile arthritis or other debilitating disease. Most people begin to get arthritic symptoms a little later in their adult life.
Arthritis in feet is a very common place for this disease to settle. There are over thirty joints and twenty-eight bones in the foot making it an ideal place for arthritis to form. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of foot arthritis. It is also known by the term degenerative arthritis. It can cause the breakdown of cartilage making walking difficult and can also cause pain and stiffness.
Treating osteoarthritis can be a process. If the symptoms are still tolerable then a mild pain reliever may be tried. However, if the pain is becoming worse, then a stronger pain reliever may be prescribed. Other simple measures can be taken like using pads or arch supports to relieve pressure off of parts of the foot or toes.
Weight control is often suggested as the amount of weight on the feet can negatively affect the pressure on the feet. Physical therapy can be recommended. This will allow the other parts of the leg to become stronger and more flexible allowing the feet to be more supported. Anti-inflammatory medications may help to reduce swelling in the joints, which could reduce pain.
If these efforts are not relieving the pain and symptoms of arthritis in feet, then other efforts like steroid medications or injections may be tried. This may depend on other medical ailments of the patient, as well as other medications being taken if the steroid medications can be given and tolerated. Physical remedies may include a cane or brace to support the joints, as well as custom shoes or inserts to support the foot and ankle.
If you need to purchase a good pair of shoes to support your feet look for the following qualities in your shoes. It is important that the shoes have good support and a proper fit. Slip-on type shoes are not usually enough support for arthritic feet. Rubber soles will provide more cushion for your feet. Flexibility is important so that your foot does not feel too rigid in the shoes.
The doctor or physical therapist may recommend doing some stretches or exercises on your own to help ease symptoms and build up the tissues around the arthritic spots. A few of the more simple things to try are the toe curl. This is when you put some marbles on the floor and try to pick them up off of the floor with your toes. You can also put a rubber band around your toes and try spreading the toes out wide, holding this position for a few seconds and then repeating.
If after all of these efforts the arthritis persists, then surgery is an option. Fusion surgery is when the bones are fused together by using screws, plates, pins or rods. After surgery of this type the bones will remain fused together. Joint replacement with an artificial joint is an option, but very involved and only used in extreme cases.
Some people are turning to a more natural approach to treating their ailments, arthritis included. Massage is being used effectively, as well as treatments like acupuncture. Often times people discover that their inflammation is a result of a food intolerance, so by changing their diet they are able to relieve their joint pain. Another option is using products like herbs and essential oils.
In using essential oils for arthritis in feet, you will want to research what may be best for you. The main oils suggested are frankincense, marjoram and rosemary. Others that may also help are peppermint and wintergreen. Be sure to research the oil company so you can receive the best, most pure oils for treatment. This will greatly affect the outcome of using the oils if the oil is not pure and potent.
Arthritis is not an easy thing to deal with, and can often be a battle over years. But by seeking treatment early and trying different methods of treatment, relief is a possibility. Be sure to make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing pain or swelling in your joints.