EFFECTS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS ON THE FEET

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic disease of the joints.  It occurs when the cartilage between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.  Osteoarthritis commonly effects the feet and, more specifically, the toes and ankles.  Arthritis pain in the foot can make walking and standing very painful.

Symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • pain and tenderness in the large joint at the base of the big toe, called the MTP joint (metatarsophalangeal joint)
  • swelling in ankles and/or toes
  • feet and toes may begin to change shape, making footwear choices significant

Initial care - things to try at home:

  • apply a heat pack to sore feet to help relieve symptoms of stiff, painful joints
  • ensure that you wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes
  • maintain a healthy body weight to take pressure off your ankles and feet and prevent the condition from worsening
  • keep moving - gentle exercise, such as walking or water-based activities, is proven to assist in reducing pain

Our approach to solving your problem:

  1. Our Podiatrists will complete a thorough assessment of the foot and ankle including skin condition, foot shape, flexibility and tenderness to pressure.
  2. As part of this assessment, you may be referred off to get an X-ray, MRI or CT scan.  If you are not already seeing a rheumatologist, this may also be arranged for you via communication with your GP.
  3. We will assist you to make good footwear choices to complement your changing foot shape and function.
  4. By doing a biomechanical assessment, we will consider whether orthotic therapy may be beneficial for you to give you more arch support and structure for your feet.
  5. Providing skin and nail care may be necessary if your movement and flexibility is effected by your arthritis, rendering you unable to reach your feet to cut your own nails.
  6. It may benefit you to use massage as part of your pain management program, in which case, our Podiatrists would refer you to one of our experienced soft tissue therapists.
  7. We will ensure that we communicate thoroughly and consistently with your GP and any other health care professionals on your management team.

We will then create a management plan specific to you to:

  • help settle the pain;
  • address the causative factors;
  • identify the biomechanical dysfunction;
  • strengthen the related muscles around the joints;
  • make recommendations on appropriate footwear;
  • provide long-term solutions, where possible;
  • keep you as active as possible, enjoying the activities that you love!

As a sufferer of osteoarthritis, you may be eligible for a Chronic Disease Management plan which would entitle you to up to five bulk-billed podiatry appointments in a calendar year at our clinic.  If this is the case, your GP will arrange the paperwork to be sent to our clinic, usually via fax at 9894 0242.

If you would like help from one of our Podiatrists to manage your arthritis symptoms, give us a call on 9894 2463 or book online to make an appointment.