Foot Arthritis Treatment Options

According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately half of all people in their 60s and 70s suffer from arthritis-related foot pain. The pain caused by arthritis in your feet can sometimes make walking difficult or even impossible. Although there is no cure, there are some strategies and treatment options that can help relieve the pain.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Make sure you choose shoes that are both comfortable and supportive. Your shoes should be wide enough that they don’t irritate any calluses or bunions, and they should provide adequate arch support. Arthritis causes your joints to move around more than they should, so stabilizing these joints will help relieve pain. You should always avoid high heels, since they put unnecessary pressure on the balls of your feet. You can also try shoe inserts that can be found over-the-counter or you can have them custom made. Shoe inserts can help correct any misalignments caused by the arthritis as well as help to distribute your weight more evenly across the bottoms of your feet.

Stretch Your Feet

Just like the rest of your body, your feet need exercise too. Stretching your Achilles tendon and the tendons in the balls of your feet and toes can help increase your mobility and flexibility if you suffer from arthritis. Some patients can benefit from seeing a therapist who can teach you specific exercises that will help to keep your joints as flexible as possible.

Foot Massages

Massaging your feet is something that you can do yourself, or you can sit back and allow someone else to help you out. Just like a soothing massage on your back or shoulders, a foot massage can also provide some much needed relief. Focus on kneading your toes and the balls of your feet and then work your way down to the base of your foot.

Topical Medications

There are many topical medications that also provide relief for arthritis-related foot pain. Medications that include the ingredient capsaicin will reduce the amount of pain transmitters in your body. Topical medications include ointments, creams, lotions, pads, liquids, gels, and sticks. You can also find capsaicin under brand names such as Icy Hot and Zostrix.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

NSAIDS are over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can help to reduce the pain and joint swelling associated with arthritis. Ibuprofen and naproxen are the most popular NSAIDS and they can also be found in higher doses that require a prescription from your doctor.

Orthotic Devices

There are many different devices that can help you find stability and relieve the pain that comes from arthritic feet. This can include canes, braces, shoe inserts, etc. Your level of pain and severity of arthritis will help you determine what you specifically need. Some people find that taping their toes together is helpful for finding relief while other prefer using a cane or shoe inserts.


If all medications and other treatment options don’t work to relieve your pain, then you might consider surgery to repair damaged joints. Surgical procedures could involve total joint replacement, tendon repair, or a joint fusion.

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