Understanding Foot and Ankle Arthritis

How Is Arthritis Treated?

Your doctor may recommend different treatment options depending on the type and severity of arthritis in your feet or ankles.

Manage the Pain.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) and cold packs may help to reduce inflammation as well as the pain associated with arthritis. Sometimes a local injection of cortisone helps to further reduce inflammation.

Look at the Big Picture.
Your doctor may recommend that you lose weight, take certain nutritional supplements and exercise. In some cases, a physical therapist may help provide pain relief and the return of some lost mobility through guided exercise and other techniques.

Get the Right Support.
Orthotic devices sometimes help. Custom-made shoes and shoe inserts provide support. Your doctor may recommend a brace or a cane to help take some of the pressure off your affected joint while you walk.

Understand Your Surgical Options.
If you are still experiencing arthritis pain after all other conservative measures have been taken, your doctor may suggest surgery to help relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Your doctor will determine the proper surgical treatment based on the type of arthritis you have, its severity and its location. Today, a full range of surgical solutions are available that enable your doctor to customize surgical procedures to your particular needs and anatomy, whether you need arthroscopic debridement (removing inflamed and/or irritating debris from the joint), arthrodesis (fusing the joint for greater support) or arthroplasty (replacing the arthritic joint).

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.