Your feet are intricately structured, with a variety of bones, muscles, and connective tissues that perform their intended functions. There are also many joints that help allow for movement and flexibility where foot bones meet. When a toe or foot joint becomes stiff and painful, performing regular tasks and favorite activities can be difficult. At Houston Foot Specialists, we provide an array of treatment methods to help relieve symptoms of the various forms of arthritis.

Arthritic FootArthritic Conditions

Arthritis is a “catch-all” term used to describe several different problems causing joint pain and stiffness. The word itself means “joint inflammation,” and there are over 100 different forms of arthritis. Some of them that affect foot and ankle health include:

  • Osteoarthritis – This “wear and tear” type is the most common and develops over time and with natural breakdown of tissues that line joints.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – An autoimmune disorder, RA causes the body’s natural immune system to attack and destroy protective joint lining.
  • Gout Gout often affects the big toe’s metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint (where toe meets foot). When uric acid, a naturally-occurring byproduct of food breakdown, is produced in excessive amounts or not flushed properly out of the body, it builds up and crystalizes in joints.
  • Trauma-based Arthritis – When bones fracture, especially in or near joints, an early onset of arthritis can develop. This most frequently happens as the result of auto accidents, sports injuries, and other sources of physical trauma.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Stiffness and joint pain are the predominant symptoms that come with most of the forms of arthritis. Redness, swelling, and restricted range of motion in the joint are other common signs of a problem. For gout, the main symptom is periodic, intensely painful flare-ups that typically occur at night.

The specific symptoms you experience will depend on both the severity and type of the condition you have. If you or a loved one is experiencing an issue with a foot or ankle joint, be sure to come to our Houston, TX office for a proper diagnosis.

Exercise and Arthritis

Arthritic conditions can make movement difficult and/or painful, so it might seem as though physical activity should be avoided. This is not the case, however. Exercise, when done correctly, is a remarkably effective way to relieve arthritis symptoms.

Some of the best exercises include walking, swimming, yoga, and even weight lifting. As with any exercise regimen, it is essential to begin at an easy level, slowly building up the duration and intensity of activity over time. Dr. Aleisha Allen and her staff can help you create an effective workout program.

The benefits of exercise for arthritis include improved muscular strength and range of motion, which can help reduce pain. Exercising regularly can also help affected joints by promoting a healthy bodyweight and thus applying less pressure on them.

Gout and Diet

Dietary choices play an essential role when it comes to gout. It is important to limit foods which cause heightened uric acid levels, if not avoid them altogether. These food products include seafood, meat, sweets, highly-processed carbohydrates, and alcoholic beverages (especially beer).

We know that sounds like a lot of food options, but centering a diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and low-fat dairy can reduce the frequency of gout attacks and keep the condition at bay.

Arthritis Treatment Options

The specific form of arthritis and its severity will determine what is included in an effective treatment plan. Physical therapy (exercise), medication, hot and cold therapy, and assistive devices (walkers, canes, etc.) all can play a role in conservative care.

Our hope is to effectively care for arthritic conditions through the use of nonsurgical treatment, but there are instances where surgery is necessary. Most often, this entails either joint replacement or joint fusion to address the condition and provide relief.

Professional Arthritis Care in Houston, TX

Don’t let arthritis pain in your feet keep you from your favorite activities or leave you unable to perform daily tasks! Contact Houston Foot Specialists and we will provide the effective treatment you need. Give our Houston, TX podiatrist office a call at (713) 467-8886 or schedule your appointment online today.