Arthritis affecting joints in the feet can have far-reaching effects on other parts
of the body; your ligaments, tendons and muscles are forced to work harder to
maintain stability. This can cause overuse injuries including ankle sprains, torn
ligaments and a greater risk of falls.
Because each foot contains 33 joints and bears a tremendous amount of weight
and pressure, feet may be more susceptible to arthritis than other part of the
body. When arthritis affects the feet, it makes standing and movement very
Another key concern for arthritis sufferers is chronic pain, which has huge effects
on overall health. Severe pain not only limits movement, but also disturbs sleep
and can lead to problems with mental health and overall well-being.
While arthritis may occur in any part of the foot, certain forms of arthritis have
a tendency to affect specific parts. For example, rheumatoid arthritis commonly
affects the smaller joints of the foot while osteoarthritis tends to involve the big
toe or the ankle.
The signs and symptoms of arthritis of the foot vary, depending on which joint
Foot care can relieve pain, maintain function and improve quality of life using
safe, cost-effective treatments. An annual foot review is recommended for
patients at risk of developing serious complications. Podiatrists work with your
GP to provide education and information to help you manage the condition,
improve pain and prevent further damage to your joints.
People who suffer with Arthritis are often concerned that by being physically
active they will cause pain or increased damage to their joints, when in fact
gentle physical activity can reduce some of the symptoms of Arthritis and
improve joint mobility and stability.
There are many things a podiatrist can do to help people with arthritis
– Functional assessment of the lower leg and feet
– Advice about strategies for managing the condition.
– Exercise prescription to help to keep the joint moving and relieve any
stiffness and pain. This can greatly improve your quality of life and your
general comfort and mobility.
– Orthotic insoles and shoes specifically made to support your foot will
increase cushioning or shock absorption, they can also direct pressure
away from the more sensitive areas of the feet to make walking easier.
– Footwear advice about the types of shoes most suitable to the activity and
the foot shape.
– Removal or reduction of Corns or Calluses that may develop on toes or
under the foot as a result of joint changes. Advice to protect the areas and
Even with the best of treatment, arthritis of the foot and ankle may continue
to cause you pain or changes in your activities. However, proper diagnosis
and treatment will help to minimise these limitations and allow you to lead a
productive, active lifestyle.