Arthritis affecting the foot and ankle can significantly impact daily life, making simple tasks like walking or standing painful and challenging. However, with the proper lifestyle modifications and coping strategies, individuals can effectively manage foot and ankle arthritis and maintain a good quality of life. 

What is Foot and Ankle Arthritis? 

Foot and ankle arthritis refers to inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the foot and ankle region. The most common types of arthritis affecting these areas are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but other forms, such as gout or psoriatic arthritis, can also occur. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected joints.

Lifestyle Modifications


Choose Supportive Footwear

Wearing appropriate footwear is essential for managing foot and ankle arthritis. Opt for shoes with good arch support, cushioning, and a wide toe box to accommodate any deformities or swelling. Avoid high heels and shoes with narrow or pointed toes, as they can exacerbate foot pain and discomfort. Our team can recommend footwear that can be customized to your personal needs at The Right Shoe.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight can place additional strain on the joints in the feet and ankles, worsening arthritis symptoms. By maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise, individuals can reduce pressure on their joints and improve mobility.

Stay Active with Low-Impact Exercises

Although high-impact activities may be too stressful for arthritic joints, low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, or yoga can help improve joint flexibility, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain. 

Use Orthotic Inserts or Braces

Orthotic inserts or braces can provide additional support and stability to arthritic foot and ankle joints, reducing pain and improving function. One of our podiatrists may prescribe custom-made orthotics to address specific biomechanical issues and redistribute pressure away from affected areas.

Consider Oral and Injectable Medications

Oral and injectable medications can help decrease and manage arthritis pain. Surgical options include arthroscopy, joint clean-up, or joint fusion. Joint replacement is also an option for the ankle and great toe joint to relieve pain and maintain motion.

Coping Strategies


Practice Rest and Relaxation

Incorporating periods of rest and relaxation into your routine can help reduce stress on arthritic joints and promote overall well-being. Elevating the feet, applying ice packs, or using heat therapy can help alleviate pain and inflammation after periods of activity.

Living well with foot and ankle arthritis requires a proactive approach that includes lifestyle modifications, coping strategies, and ongoing management. Our doctors can create a specific treatment plan for your needs to increase the range of motion and flexibility and strengthen your foot and ankle. Call us today at 717-757-3537 to make an appointment.


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