Treating Foot Arthritis: Management Strategies for Pain Relief and Mobility

Arthritis, which causes pain and stiffness, is a medical condition in which inflammation occurs in one or more joints. While there are more than one hundred forms of arthritis, many have the potential to impact your foot or ankle. According to podiatric specialists at Hampton Roads Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hampton and Williamsburg, VA, arthritis in your feet can make walking difficult and performing activities hard to enjoy.

What Causes Foot Arthritis?

 Arthritis can impact any part of the foot. Its most common forms include -  

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis.

 The common symptoms of foot arthritis may include one or a combination of –

  • Pain/Discomfort.
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion.
  • Swelling.
  • Difficulty walking and standing. 

Management Strategies for Pain Relief and Mobility

 Although there is no cure, foot arthritis can be effectively managed by applying a combination of strategies that can help reduce pain, improve mobility, maintain functionality, slow disease progress, and relieve symptoms. 


  • Over-the-counter NSAIDs (e.g., naproxen or ibuprofen) can help diminish inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Prescription medications may be prescribed to help with pain/inflammation and to slow the progression of arthritis.
  • Topical gels and creams containing menthol or capsaicin can provide relief to localized pain.


  • Shoe inserts, which can be prescribed or bought as an over-the-counter option, can offer support and stability that can reduce joint pressure and related pain.  


  • Select shoes with a wide toe box to accommodate swelling, etc.
  • Avoid high heels or ill-fitting shoes, as this can aggravate symptoms.

Physical Therapy

  • Gentle stretching can reduce stiff joints and enhance flexibility.
  • Strength-building exercises can help stabilize muscles around affected joints.
  • Applying heat (warm towels are a great option) can help relax muscles and encourage improved circulation.
  • Cold therapy offers a viable way to reduce inflammation and numb pain.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Maintaining a recommended weight can help to reduce the pressure on your foot’s weight-bearing joints, which can help with mobility and pain reduction.  
  • Avoid high-impact activities that tend to put excessive stress on your feet. Select lower-impact exercises (e.g., swimming or cycling) that do not cause irritating symptoms.
  • Proactively manage stress as stress can exacerbate arthritis symptoms.

 In severe cases (when more conservative options fail to offer desired relief), surgical options may be considered.

Contact a Leading Hampton and Williamsburg, VA, Podiatrist Near You Today

 If you are experiencing arthritic symptoms in your feet, consult a podiatric specialist or staff member at Hampton Roads Foot and Ankle Specialist at 757-220-3311 (Williamsburg), 757-224-7605 (Hampton) or online. Our expert care team includes Dr. Sara Bouraee, Dr. Jon Houseworth, Dr. Sun Byun, Dr. Daria Piotrowksi, and Dr. Shruti Vyas. We look forward to offering you personalized guidance for your situation. 

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