Arthritis Foot Problems
Depending upon the severity of the arthritic symptoms, you may be able to control your pain and disability with exercise, heating pads (if you do not have nerve damage or numbness), warm footbaths, or massage. Custom-made footwear is often helpful. Painkillers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) may take care of more serious pain.
If the pain is severe and prevents you from walking securely and comfortably, your healthcare professional or podiatrist may suggest surgery. This will depend on your individual condition.
Plantar fasciitis/heel spurs: Exercise to stretch the plantar tendons, painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, applications of cold compresses, taping the foot, or inserts (such as orthotics) to cushion the soles of your feet will probably help relieve the problem, although it may take several months or more. Moderate, gentle walking, swimming, or bicycling is beneficial, but do not overdo it. You may derive some relief from slightly elevated heels if your symptoms are mild.
For more severe cases, night splints, leg supports, corticosteroids (cortisone shots) and local anesthesia may be needed for plantar fasciitis. However, these approaches are not used for heel spurs.
For stubborn, disabling heel pain that has been going on for many months, surgery may help. An operation called “instep plantar fasciotomy” removes tissue that has been pressing on irritated nerves.