Osteoarthritis and Your Feet

By Gary N. Friedlander DPM, FACFAS and Jay C. Larson DPM
September 15, 2015
Category: Foot Problems

The summer activities are beginning to wind down and are being replaced by fall activities that require just as much effort. One of the more popular fall activities without a doubt is football. Whether watching or playing, football is an American favorite. However, enjoying this activity may be difficult if you suffer from osteoarthritis.  

Osteoarthritis is caused by the loss of cartilage in the joints of the body. Cartilage is the cushion between two bones. When this cushion is lost, the bones begin to rub against each other causing inflammation and pain. Osteoarthritis can occur in many joints such as the shoulder, hands, hips, knees and feet. When this disease affects the feet, everyday activities such as walking may become extremely difficult.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:

  • Deep achy pain within a joint

  • Pain that relieves with rest

  • Pain that becomes more noticeable throughout the day

  • Joint swelling and redness

  • Grinding or grating with motion

A diagnosis of osteoarthritis may be suspected when there is significant swelling, pain and limited joint motion. X-rays and a MRI will determine the extent of the disease and help confirm a diagnosis.  

The goal of treatment is to decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and to prevent further deformity. Non-surgical treatments may include anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen) or steroid injections. Foot orthotics may be used to take the pressure off the joints, while bracing is used to stabilize the joint and slow the progression of further deformity. Physical therapy may also be considered to aid in joint mobility and strengthen muscles around the joint. Surgery may be needed if conservative treatments are no longer effective. Fusion and joint replacements are common surgeries used in late-stage osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis in your foot and ankle can affect everyday activities, including enjoying a good football game with your friends and family. If you or someone you know has any foot issues, please consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.

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