Arthritis & Arthritic Foot Care

Rheumatoid arthritis in the feet.

Arthritis is a condition that can affect the foot and ankle and arthritis can be painful and a disabling disease. Arthritis has multiple causes. Arthritis is a frequent component of complex diseases that may involve other identifiable disorders. There are twenty-eight bones and thirty joints in the foot, and the feet are susceptible to arthritis due to the tremendous amount of weight-bearing load they assume. The prevalence of arthritis increases with age, and everyone from infancy to the elderly is prone to develop some form of arthritis. Arthritis can result in loss of mobility.

Causes of Arthritic Feet:

  • Hereditary and Genetic Factors
  • Obesity
  • Aging Process
  • Injuries from Athletics and Work Environment
  • Bacterial and Viral Infections
  • Using Drugs, both Prescription and Illegal street drugs

Arthritis can take many forms including:

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Arthritis, and it is commonly called Degenerative Joint Disease or “Wear and Tear” Arthritis. The onset is usually gradual in nature.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very serious form of Arthritis. It is a complex Inflammatory type of arthritis often affecting the toe joints or other joints equal in nature. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) usually has an acute onset. It can go into periods of remission and then return with inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Severe foot deformities and loss of motion can occur with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Gout/Gouty Arthritis: Gout is a condition caused by a build up of Uric Acid. It is commonly referred to as the “Rich Diet” arthritis. Diets that contain a lot of red meat, rich sauces, shellfish, red wine, and brandy are associated with Gout. Gout attacks are acute and very painful in nature. The big toe joint is the most common joint involved, but other joints of the foot and ankle joint can be affected. Repeated Gout attacks will lead to gouty arthritis.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is a skin disorder, but having Psoriasis can lead to Arthritis. Psoriatic Arthritis usually involves the toe joints. Psoriatic Arthritis can worsen with time.
  • Traumatic Arthritis: Injury to a joint such as a severe sprain or fracture can lead to Arthritis.


  • Early diagnosis is important to effective treatment of any form and controlling inflammation, preserving joint function or restoring it, and curing the disease if possible.
  • Patient education is very important
  • Over-the-counter pain medications both topical and oral
  • Steroid Injections to alleviate pain and inflammation and other injections to help lubricate and cushion the joint
  • Ice and Heat therapy
  • Tens and Electrical Stimulation
  • Supportive and comfortable footwear
  • Custom Shoes, Orthotics, and Braces to control/support foot function
  • Physical Therapy
  • Surgery, but all conservative measures should be performed prior to surgical intervention

For evaluation, confirming diagnosis, and treatment options, make an appointment with Dr. Novabilski