In fact, the damage starts even sooner: Beginning in your forties, your feet begin to show wear and tear, explains Dennis Frisch, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Boca Raton, Florida.
Arthritis is inflammation in or around the joints that results in swelling, pain, and stiffness. It can generally be divided in two categories:
- Osteoarthritis, and other wear-and-tear types of arthritis
- Inflammatory arthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, affects millions of people worldwide. This type of arthritis occurs over time and by overuse. The cartilage between the bones at your pivotal joints wears away. As a result, your bones grind against each other, causing pain and swelling. Very often osteoarthritis also causes degeneration of the cartilage at the base of your big toe, resulting in big toe joint pain. Bony spurs then develop at the joint there, followed by pain in the big toe and decreased motion of the joint.
1. See your doctor! Either podiatrist or rheumatologist.
The very first step to relief and treatment is to see your physician at least once a year for proper evaluation. Go to a podiatrist After diagnosis, they can prescribe ways to ease your pain and advise you on getting comfort.
In addition, try these 6 more simple ways to take control of painful arthritis.
2. Wear supportive shoes
Comfortable, supportive shoes are key for arthritis in the feet. Shoes should be wide enough so they don’t press on any part of your foot and especially any bunions or calluses areas.. Skip the high heels if you have big toe joint pain as they put more pressure on the balls of your feet.Big to joints need a deeper toe box that you find in all our Orthopedic/Therapeutic Designer footwear
Arch support ( read the 4th point on this blog – VERY IMPORTANT) is essential to stabilize joints that are moving more than they should, which can happen with arthritis, explains Frisch. The COMFORTING ATHLETIC (the “O”series) shoes that are popular these days can be a good choice for foot health.
3. Stretch your Achilles tendons to increase movement
Exercising your feet can help increase your flexibility and mobility, important when you have arthritis in your feet. Good exercises involve stretching your Achilles tendon (the cord at the back of your heel) as well as the tendons in the balls of your feet and toes. A good exercise for arthritic feet is simply to wiggle your toes. One doctor recommends using the TV as an exercise aid: wiggle your toes each time a commercial comes on, with moderation of course.
4. Get a soothing foot massage
Ahh … who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? The soothing effects of massage aren’t just great for your back or shoulders. A foot massage may sometimes provide foot pain relief. Knead the balls of your feet as well as your toes, starting at the top and working your way down to the base. You can do it yourself or ask your partner to help you.
5. Use topical medications for arthritis in the feet
Some people find that topical medications provide relief from foot arthritis pain. Look for topicals with capsaicin, an ingredient found in chile peppers that’s believed to decrease the amount of substance P, which transmits pain in the body. Capsaicin is sold over the counter as a cream, ointment, stick, gel, lotion, liquid, or pad and under different brand names, such as Icy Hot and Zostrix.
6. Take an anti-inflammatory drug to ease pain
Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce the joint swelling and pain that result from arthritis. Take them according to their directions and be sure to let your doctor know what you’re taking.
7. Use orthotic devices for stability and balance
Canes, braces, shoe inserts — your specific problem will determine what you need. Your doctor will help you determine your needs. Many find foot pain relief from shoe inserts because they can correct misalignments and distribute weight more evenly over the bottoms of your feet. You can buy shoe inserts online at dtfootwear.com.
Last resort: surgery
Foot surgery can be helpful, but it’s not a cure-all, explains Dr. Frisch. “Sometimes problems can recur despite surgery,” he explains. “Surgery should always be a last resort — when your pain is limiting your lifestyle and choice of activities.” The right procedure for you depends on the type of arthritis you have, where it is located, and the impact it has on your joints.