Ankle and Foot Arthritis Treatment in Fort Worth, TX
Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States. With more than 100 forms of arthritis, it stands to reason the foot and ankle can also fall victim to this degenerative disease that typically attacks right where your moving parts come together—the joints. The foot and ankle have 28 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. In fact, more than a quarter of the human body’s bones are in the feet.
Arthritis is defined as inflammation of one or more of your joints. With 33 potential sites for arthritis in the foot and ankle, the foot can be a concentrated focus of arthritic pain in your body, causing pain, stiffness and swelling.
Although arthritis has no cure, treatment can delay the disease’s progression and relieve your symptoms so that you can manage your pain and still lead an active life.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Fort Worth that specializes in ankle and foot arthritis treatment, call (817) 203-2760 or contact Dr. Jessica Stangenwald online.
Understanding Arthritis and Foot Pain
In many of the foot and ankle joints, the tips of the bones are covered with articular cartilage—helping the bones glide easily against and over one another during movement. A thin lining called the synovium surrounds each joint, producing a lubricating fluid that eases friction. Tendons and muscles provide the strength for movement and support for the joints, while the ligaments are the tough strands of tissue that connect bones and keep the joints held in place.
The foot and ankle absorb shock as well as provide balance, support and other functions critical for complex mobility. These functions can be disrupted by three different types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis in the foot involves degenerative “wear-and-tear” in which the joint’s cartilage wears away over time. Without cartilage, the space between the bones decreases and you experience pain when bones rub against one another without protection. This form of arthritis can occur in younger patients but is most commonly seen in people who are middle aged or elderly. Age is the greatest risk factor, but obesity and family history also play a role.
Rheumatoid arthritis often starts in the foot and ankle. The manifestation follows a symmetrical pattern—meaning it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. It is a chronic autoimmune disease wherein the immune system attacks its own tissues—usually the synovium covering the affected joints, causing joint deformity and irreversible disability. Genetics can play a role, but it is not an inherited disease. It is thought to be triggered by illness or an environmental agent.
A joint is seven times more likely to become arthritic following an injury—especially after a dislocation or fracture. Post-traumatic arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis, involving the loss of cartilage. Arthritis foot pain may not develop until decades after the original injury. It is thought that the body may secrete hormones that initiate death in cartilage cells following trauma.
The joints of the midfoot are especially vulnerable to degenerative effects. Arthritis is also extremely common in the ankle’s tibiotalar joint and the three joints of the hindfoot. The great toe where the first metatarsal connects to the great toe bone is not only the area where bunions commonly occur, but it is a common site for arthritis to develop.
Foot Arthritis Symptoms
The symptoms of arthritis in the foot and ankle will vary according to where the affected joint is located. In most cases, arthritic joints are painful, inflamed or swollen. In feet especially, arthritis symptoms tend to include:
- Pain with mobility, especially rigorous activities like jumping up and down or running
- Tenderness to touch, especially if pressure applied
- Lack of flexibility in joints
- Joint swelling, usually with redness and warmth
- Difficulty walking
- Increase in symptoms even after periods of rest
- Stiffness following prolonged inactivity (especially upon awakening)
- Reduced range of motion
X-rays, physical exam and your medical history are used together to develop a diagnosis of foot and ankle arthritis. Weight-bearing X-rays are especially helpful. Your healthcare provider may also order bone scans, MRIs or CT scans.
Foot Arthritis Treatment
There is no traditional medical or pharmaceutical cure for foot arthritis. The best course of treatment includes first attempting non-invasive treatments like:
- Physical therapy and exercise with the goal of extending range of motion, rebuilding strength and function and weight loss
- Medication to reduce arthritis foot pain and inflammation
- Extended period of rest to allow healing of damaged joints
- Alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy, massage and acupuncture
Severe foot and ankle arthritis may require surgery with a period of rehabilitation afterwards.
A complete list of treatment options can be provided to you by your healthcare provider to address your arthritic foot and ankle pain and other symptoms. Request more information about foot arthritis today. Call (817) 203-2760 or contact Dr. Jessica Stangenwald online.
The New You Medical & Infusion Clinic
Address100 Grapevine Hwy
Hurst, TX 76054
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm