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How a Podiatrist Can Help You Manage Arthritis Foot Pain

Foot problems are some of the most overlooked when it comes to managing arthritis. However, about 87% of people living with this chronic condition experience arthritis foot pain during the course of the disease. With 33 joints in each foot and two in the ankles, there are numerous sites for inflammation to strike in the lower extremities. And when getting around means putting all your weight on those afflicted joints, it can feel like there’s no escaping the pain.

There are around 100 forms of arthritis, meaning getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial to finding the right kind of relief. Many patients see a primary care doctor, a rheumatologist, and/or an orthopedist to zero in on the primary cause of their discomfort. But if foot pain is part of your everyday life, you need to make sure to include a podiatrist in your care team, too. Let’s talk about why!

What a Podiatrist Can Do for Arthritis: The Basics

What Is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical specialist who helps treat injuries that affect the feet and lower legs, including complications from certain diseases like arthritis. You may not think about going to see a foot doctor when you’re dealing with a condition as all-encompassing as arthritis. However, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in particular are known to cause potentially debilitating foot pain, which can be managed and treated with targeted podiatric care.

A podiatrist examining a patient’s foot

Are podiatrists doctors?

Yes! Podiatrists are doctors who completed podiatric medical school. They earn DPM or doctor of podiatric medicine at the end of their names. At Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates, both of our podiatrists are also board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to honing their skills and maintaining a standard of excellence in care.

What does a podiatrist do for people with arthritis?

Our goal is to identify each individual’s unique foot problems and tailor a plan to help them reduce pain, maintain or improve their foot function, protect their skin and nails, and ultimately boost their mobility to improve their quality of life. Each person’s journey with our podiatrists is personalized, but approaches may include:

  • Assessing and managing wounds of the foot
  • Recommending healthy footwear
  • Creating custom orthotics to relieve pressure on joints
  • Performing skin and toenail care (treating corns, calluses, ingrown nails, etc.)
  • Relieving issues related to misaligned or deformed toe joints
  • Exercises to improve biomechanics and structural alignment
  • Injections to alleviate joint inflammation

Why Do My Feet Hurt So Bad? Identifying Arthritis in Feet

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints that results in stiffness and pain in the affected area. Conditions that may affect the feet include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, posttraumatic arthritis, gout, and more. While these conditions have different root causes, characteristics, and treatments, all of them involve pain and stiffness and can be life-altering when joints in the feet and ankles are affected.

3D illustrated X-Ray of a foot with red joints, indicating arthritis

Osteoarthritis

More common among older adults, osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs because the cartilage in the joint has weakened due to bone-on-bone rubbing. At risk of the disease are the elderly and those with a history of osteoarthritis in the family.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This chronic condition affects multiple joints in the body, but it often begins in the smaller joints, such as where your toes join your feet. From there, it may spread to your ankles or knees. It is also often symmetrical, which means that when the right foot and ankle are affected, the same areas on the left side of the body are likely to be affected, too.

Posttraumatic Arthritis

This condition often develops after an injury, such as bone dislocation or fracture. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an injured joint is seven times more likely to develop arthritis. That’s why early podiatric assessment after an injury is so important!

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis foot pain is related to the chronic skin and nail disease known as psoriasis. About 30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, which is characterized by inflamed or swollen joints and entheses (the places where tendons or ligaments meet bone).

In some people, this inflammation can lead to chronic pain and stiffness in the toes, feet, and ankles. Medical science doesn’t yet know what causes psoriasis, nor is there a cure. However, if the disease causes you pain below the knee, podiatry can help you manage the symptoms.

When To Visit a Podiatrist

If you are experiencing pain in your foot, ankle, or lower legs, you should visit one of our doctors as soon as possible. An experienced podiatrist at Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates can help you manage the pain and determine the best options for treatment.

Other foot and ankle symptoms that should trigger a call to our office include:

  • Swelling in your joints
  • Pain or tenderness that persists or recurs
  • Joint redness or a sensation of heat
  • Limited motion in one or more joints
  • Stiffness that occurs in the early morning
  • Skin changes of the feet, including growths or rashes

Part of our responsibility as podiatrists is to comprehensively assess your foot problem and determine its cause. We may order X-rays, gait analysis, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), and/or CT (computed tomography) scans to determine if you have psoriatic arthritis foot pain, rheumatoid arthritis foot pain, or other serious foot issues.

Don’t Face Arthritis Foot Pain Alone

The pain related to arthritis can be debilitating, but the longer you let it keep you from staying active, the harder it is to recover. At Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates, we’re here to help you get back on your feet doing the things you love, supporting your overall health and wellness goals along the way. If getting around has become harder, contact our team today! We’ll get to work identifying the root cause of the issue and developing a personalized plan for healthy, happy feet.

Comprehensive Services to Support the Foot and Ankle in Commerce TWP, MI

Visit Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates to find solutions to your foot-related problems. Our team of professionals is highly educated and well-trained to provide the best foot and ankle service in Commerce Township, MI. We stay on top of foot pain treatments and tools, sharing our knowledge with you and developing a comprehensive care plan that puts your wellness first. Call our office today at (248) 360-3888 to schedule your appointment!

It’s Time To Leave Foot & Ankle Pain Behind

Monday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday By Appointment
Saturday – Closed –
Sunday – Closed –

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