Can A Podiatrist Help With Osteoarthritis In The Foot And Ankle?
Osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis, affects the joints in the foot and ankle and can be painful, stiff, and difficult to move around due to. There are treatments available even though the condition can be crippling. Podiatry is one such choice. We’ll look at how podiatrists can treat osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle in this blog.
Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis Causes
Foot and ankle osteoarthritis can be caused by a number of different things. The joint’s normal ageing-related wear and tear is the most frequent cause. The cartilage between the bones in our feet and ankles can gradually deteriorate as a result of daily use, leading to bone-on-bone contact that produces pain and inflammation.
Osteoarthritis can also be brought on by foot and ankle injuries. An unexpected injury, such as a fracture, dislocation, or severe sprain, can harm the joint and raise the likelihood that arthritis will form there. Furthermore, long-standing conditions like flat feet or high arches can put extra strain on the foot and ankle joints, eventually causing osteoarthritis.
The presence of osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle may also be influenced by genetics. You are more likely to develop osteoarthritis if someone in your family has the disease.
Foot and ankle osteoarthritis can also be brought on by other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or infection. Rarely, osteoarthritis can be brought on by a congenital deformity of the foot or ankle.
Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis Symptoms
The foot and ankle can experience pain and stiffness as a result of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. These are typical signs of osteoarthritis in the feet and ankles:
- Pain and stiffness: Osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the affected joint, making it difficult to move or put weight on the foot or ankle.
- Swelling: Inflammation caused by osteoarthritis can lead to pain, swelling and tenderness in the joint.
- Reduced mobility: As the joint deteriorates, the range of motion in the foot or ankle may become limited, making it difficult to perform daily activities such as walking, standing or climbing stairs.
- Cracking or popping sounds: You may hear cracking or popping sounds when moving the affected joint, which can be an indication of cartilage damage.
- Bone spurs: Osteoarthritis can lead to the formation of bone spurs around the affected joint, which can cause further pain and inflammation.
Role Of Podiatrists In Treating Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle can be a debilitating condition, affecting mobility and causing chronic pain. Fortunately, podiatrists are well-equipped to help manage and treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Podiatrists can assess the extent of the osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle and develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient. This may include recommending footwear modifications or custom orthotics to provide additional support and cushioning to the affected joints. Podiatrists can also provide advice on exercises and stretches that can help to maintain flexibility and reduce pain.
In some cases, podiatrists may recommend injection therapy to reduce inflammation in the affected joints. This can include corticosteroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, which use a concentrated sample of the patient’s own blood to promote healing and reduce pain.
In more severe cases, podiatrists may recommend surgical intervention to remove damaged tissue or realign the affected joint. This can help to relieve pain and restore mobility in the affected foot or ankle.
Overall, podiatrists play an important role in the management and treatment of osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle. By working with a podiatrist, patients can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses their individual needs and helps to reduce pain and improve mobility.
Techniques Used By Podiatrists To Manage Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, and there is no cure. However, there are several techniques that podiatrists use to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis and help patients maintain their mobility and quality of life.
- Orthotics: Podiatrists can prescribe custom orthotics to help redistribute pressure on the foot and ankle joints. These devices can help reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint function.
- Physical therapy: Podiatrists may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joints. This can help improve joint stability and reduce the risk of further damage.
- Medications: Podiatrists can prescribe or recommend over-the-counter medications to help manage the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. These may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical creams.
- Injection therapy: In some cases, podiatrists may recommend injection therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation. This may include corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections.
- Surgery: In severe cases, podiatrists may recommend surgery to repair or replace damaged joints. However, this is typically considered a last resort after other conservative treatments have been exhausted.
Benefits Of Podiatry For Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort, making it difficult to perform daily activities. Podiatry can play an important role in managing osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle, providing a range of benefits for patients.
One of the primary benefits of podiatry for osteoarthritis is pain relief. Podiatrists can provide a range of treatments that can help to reduce pain and inflammation, such as custom orthotics, physical therapy, and joint injections. By addressing pain, patients can often improve their mobility and quality of life.
Podiatrists can also help to improve joint function and mobility in patients with osteoarthritis. Through the use of physical therapy and other treatments, podiatrists can help patients to maintain and improve their range of motion, allowing them to perform daily activities with greater ease.
In addition, podiatrists can provide education and advice on self-care strategies that can help to manage osteoarthritis. This may include recommendations for appropriate footwear, exercises to improve strength and flexibility, and lifestyle modifications to help manage symptoms.
Overall, podiatry can be a valuable tool in the management of osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle. By providing pain relief, improving joint function and mobility, and offering education and advice on self-care strategies, podiatrists can help patients to maintain their independence and quality of life.
When To Consult A Podiatrist
If you’re experiencing pain, stiffness or swelling in your foot or ankle, you may wonder if it’s time to see a podiatrist. In the case of osteoarthritis, it’s important to consult a podiatrist as early as possible to prevent further damage to the joint.
Here are some signs that it’s time to consult a podiatrist:
- Pain: If you experience pain in your foot or ankle that persists for more than a few days, it’s time to consult a podiatrist. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and it’s important to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Stiffness: If you find that your foot or ankle is becoming stiff or difficult to move, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Stiffness can be a sign of osteoarthritis or other joint problems.
- Swelling: If you experience swelling in your foot or ankle, it could be a sign of osteoarthritis or another problem. A podiatrist can help diagnose the cause of the swelling and recommend treatment.
- Changes in gait: If you notice that you’re walking differently or that your gait has changed, it’s time to consult a podiatrist. Changes in gait can be a sign of joint problems, including osteoarthritis.
- Difficulty with activities: If you find that activities that were once easy, such as walking or climbing stairs, are now difficult or painful, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Difficulty with activities can be a sign of osteoarthritis or other foot and ankle problems.
Osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle can cause significant pain and discomfort, and can greatly impact your quality of life. Fortunately, podiatrists are highly trained in diagnosing and treating this condition and can help you manage your symptoms and improve your mobility. By understanding the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle, as well as the role of podiatrists in treating this condition, you can take control of your health and seek out the care you need.
At Upwell Health Collective, our team of podiatry experts is committed to helping you achieve optimal foot and ankle health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a pain-free life.