Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Skip to main content

Caring for Arthritic Feet

Arthritis can attack any of your joints, even in your feet. When your feet are stiff and painful, walking and standing can feel like a chore. To avoid the discomfort, you naturally stay off your feet and may risk slipping into a sedentary lifestyle — which is the worst thing you can do if you have arthritis.

Instead, make an appointment with Dr. Gary Kazmer at Kazmer Foot & Ankle Centers. We have two locations in the greater Chicago area where he’s been helping people with foot issues for more than 25 years. Our patients love Dr. Kazmer for his expertise and compassionate approach to their painful podiatry problems, from hammertoes and heel spurs to ankle pain and much more. When it comes to arthritis, your feet need special care to reduce your pain and prevent it from getting worse. Here’s what Dr. Kazmer suggests.

A word about arthritis

There are many types of arthritis, but the three main conditions that affect your feet are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout

Osteoarthritis is the most common culprit. If you live long enough, you’ll probably experience it to some degree. Osteoarthritis is also known as the wear-and-tear disease because it happens over time as the cartilage in your joints wears down from years of use. This causes painful friction and inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to a problem with your immune system. With good intentions, your immune system tries to protect you from bacteria and foreign agents, but in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, something goes haywire and it mistakes healthy tissue in your joints for harmful tissue and attacks it. Again, the result is inflammation and pain.

Gout is a very specialized type of arthritis that usually affects the joint in the big toe — especially in men. It’s caused by having too much uric acid in your bloodstream, which forms crystalline deposits in your joints, leading to . . . you guessed it . . . inflammation and pain.

How to care for arthritic feet

More than 54 million Americans are walking around with some type of arthritis — unless, of course, it’s in their feet, then they're probably sitting with it. Depending on the severity, the type, and your age, you may be able to find significant relief from your foot arthritis symptoms by making some simple lifestyle changes and adopting some self-care practices.

Open your medicine cabinet — but sparingly

Because arthritis always involves inflammation, reducing the swelling reduces your pain. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), commonly known as Advil™ or Aleve™, are a great way to get through a particularly painful day. But do make sure you use them according to the stated dosage to avoid damage to your stomach lining or developing symptoms of overuse such as heartburn, ulcers, or kidney problems. 

Another drug store option is a topical solution. Whether you choose a cream, lotion, ointment, or patch, be sure to look for capsaicin on the ingredient list. Derived from chili peppers, this powerful chemical may impact the pain transmitters in your body. 

Get support

It may seem obvious, but your shoes play a big role in foot pain and comfort. If you have arthritis in your feet, do yourself, and your feet, a favor and strap them into supportive, wide, well-constructed shoes. Avoid high heels, pointed wingtips, and other fancy shoes that pinch, press, and contort your feet.

Dr. Kazmer may also prescribe custom orthotics to slip inside your shoes for extra support. In some cases, a cane or a brace might be just the ticket for taking the weight off painful arthritic feet.

Walk — but stretch first

Exercise is an important part of your arthritis management plan. Although you may have some days when the pain is too strong to hit the hiking trails, do take advantage of the days when you feel up to it. Exercise, even just walking, increases your circulation and promotes healing. It also helps you keep your weight in check — and obesity promotes the progression of arthritis.

But before you hit the ground running (or walking), make sure to take a few minutes to gently stretch your feet and Achilles tendons to prep for the event. This helps increase flexibility and mobility to prevent injury and ward off pain.

Get professional help

These at-home, self-care tips may help you live with your foot arthritis, but they don’t take the place of expert medical care. Dr. Kazmer can help you monitor the progression of your arthritis and step in with more advanced treatments when you need them. For instance, he may suggest:

To find out how best to care for your foot arthritis, call us or book an appointment online to set up a consultation with Dr. Kazmer right away.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Pregnancy's Effect on Your Feet

Your belly is growing, your cheeks are glowing, and your whole body is changing with your pregnancy — even your feet. Find out what changes you might notice with your feet while you’re expecting.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Feet This Summer

Summer is here, and it’s time to shed the heavy coats and ditch the snow shovels. But as you trade in your boots for flip flops, you’ll need to take extra care of your feet. Here are some tips for keeping your feet in top shape.

5 Common Causes of Ankle Pain

While ankle pain is common, when left untreated, many conditions can lead to long-term pain and recurring problems. Don’t ignore ankle pain — instead, learn its causes and get the treatment you need to protect your mobility and quality of life.

Living With Plantar Fasciitis

If you live with plantar fasciitis, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Is surgery your only hope? Most people get lasting relief from plantar fasciitis pain through nonsurgical treatment and lifestyle changes. Learn how you can, too.