Many types of arthritis can develop in your toes and ankles, but osteoarthritis is the most common. This “wear-and-tear” arthritis occurs when the connective tissue that cushions the space between your bones wears away. Bone-on-bone friction causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
It’s also possible for your toes and ankles to hurt due to inflammatory types of arthritis, like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. The inflammation targets your connective tissue to cause pain and immobility.
Regardless of the type of arthritis you have, the team at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists is ready to help. The experienced podiatrists, with offices in Bradenton, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida, offer medical support but also guide you to implement at-home steps you can take to manage discomfort and loss of function.
Here are some of their tips for managing your toe and ankle arthritis.
Resting only makes arthritis worse. You may be tempted to limit activity because it hurts or feels awkward when you move, but this impulse is contrary to your condition.
Of course, if you have an acute flare-up, rest your joints. In these cases, your ankle and toes need a bit of time off from activity to get past the worst of the inflammation. But, if you have only mild pain and stiffness, moving your foot and ankle can help prevent progression of the disease and keep you mobile.
Try low-impact activities like water exercise, walking, or cycling. These activities help strengthen the muscles around arthritic joints. We can also show you stretches that help maintain your range of motion and prevent stiffness.
Exercising more also has the added benefit of combating weight gain, which causes more pressure on your arthritic toes and ankles.
Fashionable heels, pointy-toed flats, and flip-flops don’t offer your feet a lot of support and actually aggravate arthritis symptoms in the ankles and toes. We recommend shoes that give your toes plenty of room to spread out and breathe. You want a supportive shoe, too, that cushions your heel and bends as you walk. If you’re not sure how to choose a shoe, ask us for recommendations.
The team at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists often recommends custom orthotics to support feet and ankles affected by arthritis. These shoe inserts are made to fit your feet precisely to offer therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and pressure point stimulation.
Yes, you can pick up a pair of generic orthotics at your local drugstore, but they won’t give you the support and structural corrections you need to relieve arthritis pain like customized orthotics will.
Inflammation is what causes major flare-ups of pain in your ankles and toes when you have arthritis. Fight inflammation by:
Severe inflammation may not respond to these conservative treatments. Make an appointment at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists to get the next-level help you may need.
If you have any type of foot problem, the podiatry team at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists has the skills to help. Call the office today or use our online tool to book an appointment.