Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) of the foot is a disease in which cells of the immune system malfunction and attack healthy cells of the hands and feet.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are inflammation, pain, redness and a feeling of warmth around affected joints. Chronic swelling can cause damage to the cartilage and bones of the joint and, in extreme cases, lead to permanent joint destruction.
Osteoarthritis refers to swelling that occurs around the feet and ankles as they deteriorate from overuse that comes with age. As joints wear out, cartilage is lost and bones rub against each other. Swelling, pain and loss of joint function are all common symptoms.
Marshfield Clinic has orthopedic specialists who are experts in treatment of both forms of foot and ankle arthritis.
A Marshfield Clinic physician will recommend a treatment plan based on the type severity of the arthritis. Possible treatments include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen are often prescribed to reducing joint pain and swelling.
- Steroid injections are sometimes used to deliver anti-inflammatory medication.
- Orthotic devices (pads and shoe inserts) can be custom fit for a patient to provide cushioning to minimize pain when walking and give needed support to improve the foot’s mechanics.
- Accommodative shoes are used to relieve pressure and pain and assist with walking.
- Canes and braces may be used to take pressure off the joint and limit movement allowing swelling to be reduced.
- Drawing out of fluid (aspiration) may be done by the surgeon to reduce the swelling and pain.
- Arthrodesis – more commonly known as “joint fusion.” In this case the surgeon removes part of the affected joint to allow the remaining bones to realign and fuse back together.
- Total joint replacement (Arthroplasty) – in severe cases a surgeon may recommend a complete replacement surgery for this condition.