If you have severe arthritis in your ankles or feet, then you know that its symptoms can be debilitating. They include joint pain, inflammation, limited range of motion, and morning stiffness. While severe joint damage caused by arthritic conditions may require joint replacement surgery, conservative treatment options are often effective. Here are some arthritis treatments that your podiatrist may recommend to help improve your symptoms.
Naproxen sodium is one of the most commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used in the management of arthritis. Your podiatrist may recommend that you take over-the-counter naproxen sodium, or if your pain is severe, he or she will prescribe a higher dose.
Naproxen sodium not only relieves pain, but it also reduces joint inflammation. While opioid-based narcotic pain medications are sometimes prescribed for severe arthritis pain, they can cause confusion, dizziness, gastrointestinal distress, weakness, and dependence.
If you are unable to take naproxen sodium, your podiatrist may recommend a different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen. It also relieves joint pain and inflammation; however, it may be less likely than naproxen sodium to cause sodium-related fluid retention, diminished kidney function, or transient rises in blood pressure.
Your podiatrist may also recommend custom orthotics, which are orthopedic support devices that fit inside your shoes. They support your arches and soothe pain associated with arthritis and other foot disorders such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain, or tendonitis.
Orthotics are either made from graphite, a durable plastic, or soft materials that can both cushion and support the feet. Soft orthotics are typically used for diabetics who have stasis ulcers on the soles of their feet, or for those who have painful plantar warts or callouses.
With proper care, shoe orthotics can last years; however, if your weight changes or if you develop problems with your gait or ambulation, you may need to have new ones made sooner. In addition to orthotics, your podiatrist may recommend simple shoe inserts to support high arches, which can help ease pressure on foot and ankle joints in people with arthritis.
While shoe inserts such as arch supports and insoles can be purchased at your local pharmacy, custom-made inserts may be more beneficial for your overall foot and ankle health. If your foot doctor approves of over-the-counter insert products, ask him or her for a product recommendation.
If you suffer from the pain and swelling of arthritis in your feet or ankles, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. After a comprehensive physical examination and x-rays, your doctor will develop a treatment plan to help ease your symptoms.