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5 Ways to Ease Arthritis-Related Foot Pain and Stiffness

5 Ways to Ease Arthritis-Related Foot Pain and Stiffness

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, a time to call attention to the impact this condition has on the 53 million people in the United States diagnosed with arthritis. Symptoms of pain, stiffness, and decreased joint mobility can affect several aspects of daily life. 

An umbrella term that refers to more than 100 types of joint diseases, arthritis can affect any joint, including joints in the feet. At Concord Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist David Biss, DPM, provides comprehensive care for patients with foot and ankle arthritis in the Concord, and Plymouth, New Hampshire areas. 

Arthritis in the feet can lead to pain and stiffness, causing challenges for you in your typical daily activities. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to manage these symptoms. Here are five strategies to help relieve foot and ankle arthritis pain and stiffness.

1. Choose the right footwear

Wearing the right shoes is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to manage foot arthritis. Shoes that provide good arch support and have a cushioned sole can reduce stress on your feet. 

If you have foot arthritis, steer clear of high heels or shoes with minimal support like flip-flops. Footwear that doesn’t provide the right support can worsen arthritis pain. 

Dr. Biss can prescribe custom orthotics specifically designed for patients with arthritis. These medical devices can help distribute pressure evenly across your foot, minimizing pain and providing necessary support.

2. Stretch and get regular exercise

Keeping your joints mobile and the muscles around them strong is crucial in managing arthritis symptoms. Exercise plays a role in managing arthritis. Aim to engage in exercises that enhance flexibility, range of motion, and strength without putting excessive strain on your feet. Activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga are excellent choices. 

Specific foot exercises, such as toe curls and heel raises, can strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles, which boosts joint support. 

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight places added stress on your joints, leading to more pain and damage. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can go a long way in reducing pressure and easing foot arthritis symptoms.

4. Apply heat or cold therapy

Using heat or cold therapy can provide temporary relief from arthritis pain and stiffness in your feet. A warm towel or heating pad can help reduce stiffness and improve mobility, especially in the morning. When pain is particularly heightened, cold packs can reduce inflammation. 

It’s important to protect your skin by wrapping heat or cold sources in a towel and to limit use to around 20 minutes at a time.

5. Use medications and topical treatments as needed

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help manage foot pain and inflammation. For localized pain relief, topical medications, including creams and gels that contain anti-inflammatory agents are also helpful. You can apply these directly to your feet to reduce pain. 

If over-the-counter options aren’t enough, Dr. Biss can prescribe stronger medications or other therapies like corticosteroid injections.

Arthritis-related foot pain doesn’t have to control your life. With a few simple strategies, and a comprehensive treatment plan, you can ease the pain and stiffness associated with foot arthritis and boost your quality of life. 

To get started, call or text Concord Podiatry to request an appointment. This Arthritis Awareness Month, take the step toward better foot health and more comfortable mobility.

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