How to Diagnose & Treat Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions of the foot and ankle. In this article, we are going to discuss how to diagnose and treat arthritis of the foot and ankle.
Diagnosing Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle
Your doctor will begin by getting your medical history, doing a physical exam, and may do a gait analysis. This shows how the bones in your leg and foot line up as you walk. It also measures your stride and tests the strength of your ankles and feet.
You may also need some diagnostic tests. X-rays can show changes in the spacing between bones or in the shape of the bones themselves. A bone scan, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance image (MRI) may also be helpful.
Treating your Foot or Ankle Arthritis
Depending on the type, location and severity of your arthritis, there are many types of treatment available. Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling
- Putting a pad, arch support or other type of insert in your shoe
- Wearing a custom-made shoe, such as a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker bottom
- Using an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)
- Wearing a brace or using a cane
- Participating in a program of physical therapy and exercises
- Controlling your weight or taking nutritional supplements
- Getting a dose of steroid medication injected into the joint
If your arthritis doesn’t respond to such conservative treatments, surgical options are available, and may be necessary depending on your condition. Your first step is to see a board certified foot and ankle surgeon who can assess your options towards restoring pain-free mobility.