Thousands of Americans suffer from Arthritis daily. This can vary from a very mild condition to extremely limiting and disabling. Joint pain in the form of cracking, snaping, and popping can occur. Pain may or may not be present. If you suffer from arthritis in your foot or ankle, there are a few first steps for management and longevity.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or cream that can take away arthritis. This is a progressive condition and will not resolve or get better on its own. The extent of the damage done by arthritis can only truly be determined by an Xray – this shows the condition of the bone and the joints that the arthritis has set into. “It happens to the best of us,” says Dr. Garrett Nelson. It often occurs from excessive wear and tear on a specific joint. However, arthritis can be a systemic disease, meaning that it can affect multiple areas of the body. Arthritis can manifest in several forms such as rheumatoid, gout, osteoarthritis, etc. It is important to see a foot and ankle specialist, such as Dr. Nelson, to help determine this to treat your arthritis properly. If it does manifest in other parts of your body, a multi-specialty approach is best coordinated with your PCP and likely a rheumatologist.
Initial treatment involves addressing the symptoms. Avoiding excessive wear and tear on your joints in the form of proper shoe gear and custom inserts is a great first step. If pain continues, a corticosteroid injection or cold laser therapy can relieve some of the inflammatory responses caused by arthritis. Systemic medication may be necessary if the etiology of the arthritis stems from rheumatoid or gout. If the arthritis gets too severe, removing the root issue by fusion of a joint may be the best treatment. “People do quite well with this procedure, some even run marathons after. It’s one of the more reproducible and satisfactory procedures we can perform on the foot for our patients,” Dr. Nelson states. Come see one of our foot and ankle surgeons for further evaluation!