Many of our patients come to the East Orange office believing that they have arthritis in their feet or ankles either from self-diagnosis or they may have been told this by their primary doctor. However, the arthritis is a relatively uncommon finding in the feet unless there has been a history of an injury (usually severe injury like fracture) in the patient's past. Minor arthritic changes can occur over the years sue to wear and tear and the over 75,000 miles that most people put on their feet over the course of their lifetime. Joint degeneration occurs in all cases with people involving arthritis with more than half of individuals over age 55 and goes up to 90% of people at age 70. However, even when these arthritic findings are noted on x-ray, or when evaluating someone's feet, they are not even painful to the individual.
The joints that most commonly have a problem with arthritis in the absence of an injury are the 1st toe joint (The joint that is at the base of the big toe) and the ankle joint. These joints may present as swollen, warm, and some discomfort when walking or when sitting down. A thorough evaluation with range of motion examinations and digital x-rays, can be determined if arthritis is part of the problem when people have pain in their feet or ankles. Unlike other joints, like the knee, where surgery is regularly one of the options in treatment, most foot arthritis can be treated with conservative means.
Things like proper shoes, foot orthotics, and ankle braces (called ankle-foot orthoses) of different types can be made to reduce pain, swelling and aid proper function. Starting with the most conservative treatments, New Jersey podiatrist Dr. Bruce Theall has helped many people over the years to deal with and arthritic foot or ankle.
At times surgical intervention is necessary and there are a wide range of procedures performed to reduce the pain of arthritic joints. Remodeling of the joint (called arthroplasty), joint implants, and sometimes joint fusions are the most common procedures. These surgical procedures are used when all other treatments have failed to give the patient significant relief of their pain and improve function.
Call our office today at 973-673-FOOT (3668) to request an appointment!