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10 Ways to Deal with Arthritis in Feet

10 Ways to Deal with Arthritis in Feet
Shweta Chaubey

5 Key Takeaways

  • Arthritis is a common problem that affects many people over 50, especially in the feet. 
  • There are various types of arthritis, and each type affects the feet differently. 
  • Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available to manage foot arthritis. Non-surgical options include pain relievers, orthotic inserts, weight loss, physical therapy, occupational therapy, braces, acupuncture, massage, and temperature therapy.
  •  If non-surgical treatments are not effective in managing symptoms or underlying conditions, consulting a doctor is essential. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can significantly improve the quality of life.
  • HPFY provides medical and orthopedic products that can offer relief from pain and assist in daily living improvement.


Arthritis in the feet affects one in every six people over the age of 50. It can involve one or more joints and largely affect your mobility. Some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in the feet include -

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Joint deformity (in some cases)

If you're experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor to determine the cause and get proper treatment.

Types of Arthritis in Feet

Arthritis is a medical condition that affects your joints. It can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in various parts of your body, including your feet. There are different types of arthritis, and each one affects your feet in different ways.

  • Osteoarthritis: It is one of the most common types of arthritis and usually affects the joint that connects your big toe to your foot, but it can also affect other parts of your feet.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It usually affects both feet and the same joints in each foot. Gout is another type of arthritis that often affects only the feet, especially the big toe.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: It can cause swelling in your toes and the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: It is another type of arthritis that can cause pain in your feet.

While surgery is an effective way to treat and manage foot arthritis, there are some non-surgical methods to help this debilitating condition. Read this article to learn more about ten ways to deal with foot arthritis.

10 Ways to Deal with Arthritis in Feet

1. Pain Relievers

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, are available in both prescription and over-the-counter versions. They are highly effective in reducing the swelling, pain, and redness associated with arthritis in feet. These drugs work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, lipids responsible for pain and inflammation. However, it is important to note that NSAIDs should only be taken after consulting with a doctor, as they can increase the risk of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems. Your doctor may recommend a topical arthritic cream, gel or spray instead, which is absorbed by the body minimally and has fewer side effects. These topical analgesics relieve swelling and inflammation for immediate relief from arthritic pain.


2. Orthotic inserts

An orthotic insert is placed in the shoe to support the feet and relieve discomfort. It reduces the amount of stress put on the arthritic areas by redistributing the body weight to other parts of the foot and provides pain relief. These shoe inserts are either bought from online or offline stores or custom-made to suit a person’s individual needs.


3. Weight Loss

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention article states that more than 58 million US adults have arthritis. Out of which, 39 million are overweight or obese. Losing weight can help ease arthritis pain and improve the quality of life for adults who have arthritis, particularly those overweight or obese. In fact, studies indicate that patients who receive weight counseling from a healthcare professional are almost four times more likely to attempt weight loss than those who don't receive counseling. Being at a healthy weight can help with arthritis in the feet, reduce pain, and improve physical function.

4. Physical Therapy

It's important to exercise when you have arthritis, whether it's the wear-and-tear type or the inflammatory kind. However, many arthritis patients don't increase their exercise levels after diagnosis. In a recent poll, 59% of the 640 respondents said they have yet to exercise more. People with arthritis might avoid exercise for different reasons, but one of the main misconceptions is that movement can make arthritis worse. Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not worsen arthritis; it makes it manageable.

According to a research paper by the National Library of Medicine, physical and occupational therapy is highly recommended for people dealing with foot or ankle arthritis. Performing regular exercises helps keep the joints mobile and strengthen the muscles around them. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and specific feet and ankle exercises are good for muscle strength while being gentle on the joints. 

5. Occupational Therapy

Living with arthritis can be a challenging experience, making even the simplest daily tasks a painful ordeal. However, it's important to know that there are ways to overcome these difficulties and still maintain your independence. Occupational therapy is a form of treatment that can help you stay active and participate in daily activities by using a range of techniques to manage your arthritis symptoms better and maintain a high level of function in your everyday life. You can start by contacting a professional occupational therapist who can help you develop a tailored plan that suits your unique needs and goals.


6. Prescription Injections

When a joint becomes arthritic, it loses its ability to produce high-quality joint lubricant. This lubricant is necessary for pain-free and healthy joint functioning. Corticosteroid is a strong anti-inflammatory medication that helps reduce pain and inflammation associated with foot and ankle arthritis.

Another prescription injection for arthritis is hyaluronic acid. It is a man-made replica of a naturally occurring substance found within joints. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and provides lubrication for the joint. Hyaluronic acid is regularly used, along with short-acting local anesthetic, as an alternative to corticosteroid for the treatment of arthritis in feet.

7. Foot and Ankle Braces

Orthopedic braces are available in various sizes and support levels, designed to cater to different needs. While some braces are flexible and can be worn with regular shoes, others resemble a cast that covers arthritic parts of the foot. Based on the severity of your symptoms and lifestyle, your doctor can suggest the most suitable type of brace for you. For instance, if you are planning to spend the day in an environment that requires minimal walking, a light brace may suffice. However, if your job entails standing on your feet for extended periods, a brace with more support may be a better option.


8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient practice which has been considered effective and has many health benefits. Acupuncture for arthritis also presents a potentially hopeful yet uncertain picture. While not a definitive cure, it may offer some pain relief and functional improvement for certain individuals dealing with arthritis in their feet. As research continues to explore its mechanisms and efficacy, it may be a wise idea to consult with your doctor to add acupuncture for arthritis to your treatment plan.

9. Feet Massages

Massage is another efficient way to deal with arthritis in feet. It eases muscle stiffness, improves blood flow and reduces inflammation associated with arthritis. The soft tissue manipulation releases muscle tension and makes the foot joint less painful and more flexible. Additionally, massaging does not affect all types of foot arthritis the same way. For instance, for rheumatoid arthritis, massage can improve blood circulation through the arthritic joints and reduce swelling. However, refrain from massaging the affected joints during a flare up. Similarly, for osteoarthritis, massaging the feet can help minimize swelling and pain, relieve stress, and improve joint mobility.


10. Temperature Therapy

Heat and cold therapy have been used for centuries to provide pain relief. Cold therapy works by contracting the blood vessels in the surrounding muscles, which decreases blood flow to the joints, thus reducing inflammation. On the other hand, heat therapy works by loosening the muscles, reducing joint stiffness, and decreasing spasms. Applying heat and cold packs before and after exercise can be particularly helpful in minimizing painful arthritic symptoms.


When to seek medical help?

Arthritis is a chronic condition that can adversely affect the quality of one’s life. The abovementioned methods to manage arthritis in feet are considered effective. However, if they don’t help minimize your symptoms or you experience any underlying condition, it is best you consult your doctor.

Where to find products to help deal with arthritis in feet?

HPFY has been online since 2002. We carry a wide range of medical and orthopedic products that can help with pain relief and improve daily living for people dealing with conditions such as carpal tunnel and arthritis. Explore our catalog today to find all that you need to stay healthy. 

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HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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