Osteoarthritis of the Foot
Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff. It’s the most common type of arthritis in the UK and is often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. Most people will experience some Osteoarthritis related joint pain as part of normal, age related changes.
Osteoarthritis causes the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones to break down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint.
It can affect any of the 33 joints in the feet but commonly affects those across the top of your midfoot and big toe joint (Hallux Limitus). These joints are prone to wear and tear from the pressures of walking and can be exacerbated by other foot conditions.
Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition that cannot be cured, but it doesn’t necessarily get any worse over time and sometimes your symptoms can gradually improve.
How to help your Osteoarthritis of the Foot
We recommend a number of treatments to help reduce your symptoms:
- Take regular exercise to maintain your mobility.
A good place to start, for ideas about how to exercise and how to improve your strength and stamina, can be found here.
- Weight loss
If you are overweight consider weight loss as it significantly reduces the stress and strain through your joints. Our dieticians have brought together some helpful videos, resources and links. Click here to read about the options available to you and decide what suits you best.
- Use supportive footwear
If your symptoms are more severe, you may need additional treatments or surgery. Surgery for Osteoarthritis is only needed in a small number of cases where other treatments haven’t been effective or where one of your joints is severely damaged.
Supportive shoes are one of the most important things to help support your foot joints – ensure your shoes have a robust sole and secure top fastening.
Orthotics (insoles) can help to reduce the strain on your joints during your everyday activities.
Always build up the use of insoles gradually over a week and stop use if you have any new pain.
Do not continue to use insoles if your symptoms worsen.
The following insoles may benefit your condition, however we do not endorse any brand:
- Orthotic Insoles Full Length with Arch Supports, Metatarsal and Heel Cushion
- Express Orthotics Firm Density 3/4 Length Insoles
If you have a problem which does not improve as you would expect with self-care, you should contact a healthcare professional for advice. This may be your GP, Pharmacist, NHS Podiatry Service or a Private Podiatrist.
Please make sure your Podiatrist is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and look out for the letters HCPC after their name.