Hoping to treat foot arthritis or ankle arthritis? There are many ways we can offer pain relief in our Massapequa, NY podiatry practice. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to reduce your pain, maintain your mobility and even slow down disease progression. Ready to find out your treatment options? We’ll get to those in a minute. But first, let’s get a better understanding of how arthritis impacts your feet and ankles, and why you develop this condition in the first place.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis describes inflammation and swelling in your joint’s cartilage and lining. Symptoms include joint pain and stiffness. Of course, you can develop arthritis anywhere you have a joint. But, with 33 joints and 26 bones in your feet, foot arthritis and ankle arthritis are common complaints, particularly for older patients.
What Causes Foot Arthritis and Ankle Arthritis?
There are many different reasons why you might develop osteoarthritis. First and foremost, family history affects your risk—you’re more likely to develop arthritis if one of your parents or grandparents also lived with this condition. But other risk factors include:
• Previous trauma to your foot or ankle, especially if an injury didn’t heal properly
• Infections of any kind (fungal, bacterial or viral) that spread to the joints
• Side effects of other illnesses, including colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
If you develop arthritis in your feet or ankles, it can be hard to get through your daily activities. Joint pain in these hot spots is particularly painful since you’re constantly putting pressure on the feet and ankles. In some cases, the pain gets so intrusive that your mobility is compromised. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, if you seek early intervention, we can offer pain relief that will keep you mobile for years to come. But it’s very important that you come to us as soon as possible, in order to prevent disease progression.
What are the Symptoms of Early Stage Arthritis in Feet?
Sometimes, in its early stages, its easy to ignore the symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis. But delayed treatment can lead to functional and structural changes in your feet. For that reason, we urge you to make an office appointment if you notice any of the following symptoms:
• Changes in foot structure—even forming bunions could be a warning sign of foot arthritis
• Joint tenderness or pain. At first, it may come and go, but eventually it will become chronic
• Swollen, red or warm ankle or foot joints
• Early morning stiffness (or stiffness at any time of day)
• Dull, throbbing joint pain at night
• Limits on range of motion in your joints
• New growths or rashes on the skin near your joints
• Muscle deterioration over time
Can You Get Arthritis in One Foot?
Foot arthritis and ankle arthritis can affect one or both of your appendages. But just because only one side of your body hurts now doesn’t mean your other foot or ankle is safe. After all, osteoarthritis will progress without intervention. (Even with treatment, progression is likely, but at a much slower pace.) So, to protect as many of your joints as we can, we encourage you to see your podiatrists in Nassau County, Long Island, as soon as you notice arthritis symptoms.
Treating Foot Arthritis and Ankle Arthritis
With an early arthritis diagnosis, we’ll be able to offer better treatment plans. As the disease progresses, you may get bone or cartilage damage that we can’t reverse. When you come into the office with joint pain or other arthritis symptoms, we’ll usually be able to give you a diagnosis with a thorough physical exam. In some cases, if we suspect you have a different form of arthritis, such as gout, RA, or PsA, we may order further tests to accurately diagnoses the cause of your foot pain.
Remember, osteoarthritis is not a disease we can cure. But we can delay or prevent osteoarthritis progression with proper care and early intervention. At the same time, our treatment options will help control inflammation and maintain optimal joint function. But we’ll be better positioned to improve your comfort and deliver optimal outcomes if you come into the office as soon as possible.
Standard Treatment Options
There are several ways to treat foot arthritis and ankle arthritis. Often, we’ll try a combination of several treatment options, so that we can offer fast pain relief while working to protect your mobility.
The standard course of treatment for osteoarthritis includes low impact exercise to maintain mobility. In some cases, physical therapy will be part of the treatment plan—particularly if you’ve already lost some joint mobility, or are finding it hard to stay active.
If you are in pain, you may benefit from medications to manage your discomfort. The first-line medication for foot arthritis and ankle arthritis is ibuprofen. Many patients are able to control their symptoms with a daily dose of medication, but every person is different. Plus, not all patients are able to tolerate ibuprofen, especially on a daily basis. In this case, you may need a more advanced option for pain relief. Luckily, we have just the thing in our Massapequa podiatry practice—the HyperBlue Laser for arthritis pain relief.
Advanced Care for Arthritis Pain in the Foot and Ankle
We are proud to offer HyperBlue PLUS laser therapy to our patients suffering with foot arthritis and ankle arthritis. Without burning or harming your skin in any way, this laser uses targeted light energy to:
• Increase your cellular activity, helping your body repair itself at a faster rate.
• Boost blood flow to your targeted cells
• Trigger an anti-inflammatory response that reduces pain and swelling
• Strengthen your body’s immune response, helping protect your joints from further arthritis damage
Because the HyperBlue laser helps harness your body’s natural defenses to fight the effects of arthritis, we find it is an excellent treatment option for arthritis. It is especially effective for older patients who may not be able to tolerate daily medications due to other conditions they may be treating.
Plus, sessions last 30 minutes or less, and you can return to your regular activities as soon as your session is done. There are no wounds or dressings to change after laser therapy, and no after care instructions to deal with. Best of all, we spread sessions out over the course of several weeks or months, so treatment is effective without requiring major time commitments or changes to your schedule.
Ready to find relief from foot and ankle arthritis? Do you want to protect your joints and stay mobile and active? Schedule an appointment today, and we’ll come up with a plan that works for your symptoms and lifestyle!