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Foot Arthritis Treatment Remedies for Pain Relief

by Patty Weasler, RN March 15, 2022 0 Comments

shoe insoles

When suffering from arthritis in the foot, treatment can help ease pain and reduce flare ups; most of which can be performed at home on a daily basis. These options focus on supporting the joints of the foot and reducing inflammation. Keep scrolling to learn what foot arthritis treatments there are how to use them to your advantage.

Treating Foot Arthritis Symptoms

There are three main types of arthritis that cause foot arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis. While the long-term treatment will vary from type to type, many of the home treatments will be the same. Here we will show you how to manage the symptoms of foot arthritis.

More on Foot Arthritis

Proper Footwear

One of the best foot arthritis treatments is to support your feet. This begins by wearing the proper footwear. Look for shoes that have plenty of room in the toe box and make sure shoes are wide enough that they aren’t pinching or pressing against bunions or corns. Arch support is another key feature to look for in the right arthritis shoes. Shoes that support your arches appropriately will reduce joint movement within the foot.

Consider wearing supportive slippers or indoor sneakers around the house, especially if your home has a lot of hard floor surfaces.

Orthotics & Insoles

Shoe inserts are designed to support your feet, ankle joint, and arches. The gel or foam material acts as a cushioning agent against your feet and bones. By taking pressure off your foot joints, there will be less pain. You can purchase over-the-counter orthotics or have them custom-made through a podiatrist. They are rather expensive to have custom-made, so it’s usually best to start off with over-the-counter shoe inserts.

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Compression Socks

If you have foot arthritis you know that pain isn’t the only symptom, swelling is also a part of the disease as well. Compression socks or stockings provide graduated compression that decreases swelling and improves venous blood return. Wear them during the day and take them off before going to bed. The improved blood flow and reduced swelling will ease your foot arthritis.

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Sequential compression therapy can also provide a lot of relief for foot arthritis systems.

Learn More About Compression Therapy

Foot Exercises

Exercise and stretching may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine foot arthritis treatment. But keeping those feet moving and flexible will reduce the stiffness that plagues arthritis sufferers. Look to exercise your lower legs and to strengthen the muscles that control your feet. Stretching will improve your range of motion and maintain flexibility. People who have severe foot or ankle arthritis, may need physical therapy to safely guide them through exercises and stretches.

Effective Foot Exercises for Arthritis

Heat Therapy

Sometimes simple home remedies like heat therapy can make a huge difference in foot arthritis pain. The warmth from a heating pad will soothe and relax sore muscles. The heat will also encourage blood circulation to the area. This will bring in necessary oxygen and nutrients to improve healing. Try using heat whenever you feel foot stiffness, which is often worse in the mornings.

When & How to Use Heat Therapy

Cold Therapy

A foot and ankle ice pack is a great treatment option when you have arthritis. The cold will numb the affected joint and reduce foot and ankle pain. It also causes blood vessels to tighten up, reducing blood flow which leads to less swelling. Place an ice pack on your foot if you are in pain, swollen, or know you will be having an active day and want to get ahead of your arthritis symptoms.

Alternating Hot & Cold Therapy

Pain Cream

When you have foot arthritis, finding pain relief becomes your priority. Pain cream is an easy, yet effective treatment option. The cream soothes and relieves arthritis pain through a cooling sensation. It can be applied several times a day but always make sure to read the manufacturer’s labels for specific directions. Many people like pain creams because they are a medication-free, noninvasive treatment that provides results.

Massage Relief

Massage is well known for relieving muscle pain but it is also a great treatment for arthritic joint pain. Massage the balls of your feet and your toes. It will encourage blood flow to the area, loosen tense muscles, ligaments, and tendons and provide an overall sense of relaxation. If you have a hard time reaching your feet use a massage tool to get the job done!

Tip & Techniques for Self-Massage

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections, also known as cortisone shots, use a strong anti-inflammatory medication that is injected directly into the affected joint. The medication will provide pain relief and reduce inflammation in the joints, though the effects will be temporary. You may need more than one steroid injection to find relief. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks related to this treatment to decide if it is right for you.

Ways to Prevent Flare-Ups

Arthritis of the foot is painful and can make everyday life hard. The best way to manage arthritis is to minimize its effects and prevent flare-ups with lifestyle changes. Here we will discuss ways you can prevent this painful condition from interfering with your life.

Weight Loss

Losing excess weight is not only beneficial to your arthritis but your overall health as well. If you carry around extra weight there will be additional stress and strain on your joints which can lead to arthritis. If you suffer from obesity or have a significant amount of weight to lose it is always helpful to seek out medical advice to determine the best way to be successful in your weight loss journey.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet is not a magic cure for foot arthritis but it does work to lower the inflammation within the body to ultimately improve symptoms of arthritis and lead a better life. A diet like the Mediterranean diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts but is low in sugar, alcohol, and processed foods is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Follow this diet and you may also see improvement in not only your arthritis but also your blood pressure, weight, and several other areas of your body.

Routine Foot Care

You don’t realize how important your feet are until there is a problem with them. Routine foot care includes trimming toenails, keeping calluses away, moisturizing your feet, and taking care of any skin injuries or sores. As we age, foot care becomes more important. Older people are at a greater risk of conditions that affect their feet. So don’t ignore any concerns and seek medical advice if you have any questions about the health of your feet.

Can You Cure Arthritis in the Foot?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis in the foot, but there are ways to reduce painful symptoms. As we discussed earlier, there are several treatment options that will greatly improve your quality of life. Make sure you are working with a doctor who is familiar with your type of arthritis and knows all the treatment options available to you.

When to Consider Surgery

When nonsurgical options are not enough and you are still in pain then your doctor may suggest surgery. Typically, you will have diagnostic imaging like x-rays to evaluate your bones and arthritis. Once your surgeon has all the information then they will make a decision on which type of surgery is best for you.

Arthroscopic surgery is usually suggested for those who are in the early stages of foot arthritis. This procedure involves small incisions to allow the surgical camera to see the structures of the foot. Your surgeon can then remove any necessary tissue or bone spurs. Another type of surgery called arthrodesis fuses the bones together to prevent movement and pain. Whichever type of surgery you have, make sure you ask any questions you have and find out how long the surgeon expects your recovery to be.

Relieving Foot Pain

Foot pain from arthritis can become debilitating if left untreated. Thankfully, there are several treatment options that you can explore, even in the comfort of your own home. If you find home treatment is not enough then reach out to your doctor to learn about further options they can provide, which may also include surgery. Always talk to your doctor before you begin any treatment to ensure that you are on the right path to healing your foot arthritis.


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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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