Foot arthritis is very common, as it is more noticeable in the weight-bearing joints, and can reduce mobility if left too long without treatment.
Prevention of foot arthritis and deformity is very important and must start in the early stages of the condition, to achieve the best results.
By the age of 65, approximately 80% of us will have visible signs of osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) on X-ray, but only 25% of people will experience symptoms.
Causes of Foot Arthritis:
- Autoimmune conditions (e.g Rheumatoid Arthritis, where the body’s own cells attack the cartilage surrounding the joint. This results in inflammation and swelling and eventually destruction of the joint cartilage).
- Previous injury or surgery to the affected joint (e.g fractures, knee reconstructions).
- Age (cartilage becomes brittle with less capacity to repair itself and withstand pressure).
- Weight (increase strain and wear on the joint).
- Illness of infections (e.g septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, gout).
- Occupation, as joint position and strain on joints, varies between different jobs.
Symptoms of Arthritis In the Feet:
- Arthritis in the feet can cause deformity or bony prominence resulting in pressure and irritation.
- Generalised aches in the feet (more severe in colder weather).
- Stiffness of big toe joints.
- Bunions, clawed toes, and other toe deformities.
- Footwear difficulties.
- Callus, corns, or even ulceration.
- Increased number of falls.
Treatment for Foot Arthritis:
- Customised foot orthoses to provide comfort and support to the joints in the feet.
- Foot Mobilisation Therapy.
- Footwear recommendations and advice.
- Surgical option (joint replacement/ fixation of joints).
- Gentle, no weight-bearing exercises (hydrotherapy, cycling).
- Anti-inflammatories or alternative pain relief.