Six Ways to Treat Arthritic Feet
Arthritis pain in the feet can show itself in many ways. Maybe you have difficulty walking or standing, or maybe you experience sharp pain in your toes or ankles. Regardless of how arthritis presents to you, there are things you can do to help reduce the pain and get back on your feet again.
While there are many kinds of arthritis, they fall into three main types:
- Osteoarthritis – “Wear and tear” arthritis involves a wearing away of the cartilage over time. It often progresses slowly and appears later in life, with increasing pain and stiffness over time.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disease that involves the body attacking its own tissues. It often begins in the feet. It can affect bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Posttraumatic Arthritis – After an injury, this kind of arthritis may develop, either immediately or years after the damage occurred. Dislocations and fractures, especially injuries to the joints in the feet, make this foot issue more likely.
There are some basic treatments to consider when managing arthritis in the foot:
1. Custom Orthotics
Orthotics help to position your feet correctly and help with body alignment. If you don’t have orthotics, it may be time to look into getting them to reduce pain. If you do, be sure to meet with your foot doctor regularly to check if they are working for you.
2. Laser Treatment
New laser treatments, including treatment available at the Family Foot and Ankle Center practices in Niles and Berwyn, IL, can help reduce pain and inflammation. You may experience a benefit in as few as one to three sessions.
Cortisone injections can help with pain and inflammation. Also Zeel herbal injections, used by Dr. Shermi Parikh, have been shown to restore damaged cartilage and decrease inflammation. Finally, stem cell injections (derived from the placenta after birth) can help your own body recruit the needed cells to produce healthy cartilage.
4. Proper Nutrition
Eating healthy food and taking nutritional supplements can also be of great benefit for arthritis sufferers. Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can reduce symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, and are found in foods like salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and sardines. High antioxidant foods like those containing vitamin c, may even prevent arthritis or slow its progression.
If you are concerned that you might not be getting the nutrients you need through food, consider a supplement like Juice Plus, which Dr. Parikh can provide. Juice Plus is a product that adds 30 different fruits vegetables, and grains to your diet. Learn more at ShermiParikh.juiceplus.com or by visiting Family Foot and Ankle Center. Additional supplements that can support foot and joint health include glucosamine, chondroitin, and SAMe.
While the phrase “stretch your feet” is common, how often do we actually take the time to do simple stretching exercises for the feet? Stretching the Achilles tendon, the toes, as well as all tendons and muscles in the feet can reduce arthritis pain. The Arthritis Foundation even includes exercises on their website.
In addition to the above treatments, be sure to keep active and consider taking and anti-inflammatory medication – or with extreme pain, surgery may be necessary. Your podiatrist will be able to help identify your medical issues and provide several options for you to choose from to minimize pain, and possibly even slow the progression of your arthritis symptoms.
About the Author—Dr. Parikh
Dr. Shermi Parikh, DPM, practices podiatry at the Family Foot and Ankle Center in Niles and Berwyn, Illinois. She has been in practice for over a decade and treats all aspects of foot and ankle pain using physical therapy, orthotics, minimally invasive surgical techniques, and laser treatment. More information about her practice and areas of specialization may be found at www.familyfootchicago.com. She believes that informed patients are best able to address podiatric conditions.