If your arthritis is affecting the small joints in your ankles, you may want to reach out to a podiatrist for help. Here are four podiatry treatments that could help you relieve pain and stiffness in your feet.
An orthotic is a specialized piece of footwear that can cushion your feet, adjust improper biomechanical patterns, and distribute pressure evenly. Orthotics are beneficial because they are relatively affordable since they can last a long time, and they are a minimally invasive way to treat your arthritis. A podiatrist can fit you with a custom orthotic after taking scans or impressions of your feet.
Cortisone is a steroid drug that helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. A podiatrist can administer cortisone shots around ankles and swollen toe joints. These shots may be enough to control your arthritis symptoms. The main downside of cortisone shots is that the number of shots you can get each year may be limited. If cortisone shots are used too often, they can lose their effectiveness and possibly damage the cartilage within a joint.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
During low-level laser therapy (LLLT), your podiatrist will use a laser to improve circulation and healing around damaged tissues. One study found that LLLT was a great option for people with rheumatoid arthritis since it could provide relief for pain and morning stiffness. The results of the study were mixed concerning patients with osteoarthritis, however. More research needs to be conducted on LLLT effectiveness, but it may be a good option to try between cortisone appointments.
If your arthritis is advanced or cannot be treated by the previously mentioned therapies for whatever reason, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. An abstract for a study found that operative treatments were often needed to adequately help patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
There isn't a one-size-fits-all surgery; your podiatrist may recommend a specific surgery depending on your needs. For example, if you have mild/moderate symptoms that mainly affect your toes, then your podiatrist might recommend debridement. During this surgery, your doctor will remove any bone, cartilage, or ligament structures that affect joint movement.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis that is severe, your podiatrist might recommend fusion surgery. During this surgery, bones of the arthritis joint are fastened together with metal plates and screws so that they can bear more weight and have more stability. Although a patient may have less foot flexibility after fusion surgery, they will also have less pain and irritation.
Reach out to a podiatrist in your area today to learn more.