Midfoot ArthritisNot Your Middle-of-the-Road Pain
Being in the middle can be good. Ladera Ranch, where our office is located, is about half way between the shore and the coastal mountains in California, giving us the benefit and pleasure of both. But it can also be a problem. No one wants to get in the middle of an argument between two friends, for instance. If you side with one or the other, you may lose a special relationship. One thing we know: when foot arthritis strikes the middle of your foot, it’s hard to find anything good about it.
Midfoot Arthritis on the Rise
This condition is becoming more common, partly because of our aging population (from wear and tear on joints) and partly from an increase in sports activity and injuries (arthritis can follow trauma to the foot). Several conditions can trigger arthritis to develop in this part of your foot: fracture or dislocation of the bones, inflammatory diseases like gout, nerve degeneration, degrading cartilage in joints, or jamming injuries in auto accidents. Surprisingly, airbag technology has actually increased midfoot injuries, which can cause problems later.
How to Know You Have This Arthritis
In a word—pain. You will feel it in the middle area of your foot, most often when you first start moving around in the morning or after standing or walking for long periods.
You will probably have trouble walking as well. The midfoot bones all move as you transfer your weight from the heel strike forward to your toes when you push off. If the joints are degenerating, these movements will cause pain in the middle of your foot as the bones rub against each other.
Another symptom may be a visible, bony bump on the top of your foot, although this doesn’t always mean you have arthritis there.
You may be able to point to a past injury that may have led to the condition, such as a fracture or dislocation, but more often it is due to degeneration from rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
Our foot doctors can confirm the reason for your midfoot pain and take steps to treat it and get you active again without the discomfort. We may use imaging tests to see how the metatarsal and cuneiform bones are lying while you stand. Typically, they will be closer together if you have arthritis.
Can foot Arthritis Be Treated without Surgery?
There are a few conservative methods of treatment that have been the mainstay over the years to handle the pain from this condition. One is the use of stiff-soled shoes. These do not allow the bones in your midfoot to move as easily, and thus reduce the painful friction in the joints. A shoe with a rounded rocker bottom can accomplish the same thing as it rolls your foot forward with each step.
Another effective treatment is the use of custom orthotics to offload pressure and control movement in your midfoot. You may need to limit some of your activities as well. If walking and standing causes pain, you can do less of it. However, you don’t want to stop moving completely or the joints will stiffen up and cause worse pain.
Losing weight can be a big help. Offloading your weight with the use of a cane, crutches, or knee-walker and using pain medication we recommend can also help you through a painful episode. In addition, we encourage you to regularly stretch your calf muscles to lessen tension on your foot bones.
Some cases degenerate to the point where the only solution to serious pain may be fusing some of your midfoot bones together. This is not ideal, as those joints will be permanently stiff, and others in your feet may still have a measure of discomfort. However, it is one option for extreme pain that nothing else helps.
Let our SoCal Experts Find Answers for Your Foot Pain
You don’t need to suffer needlessly when there are therapies we can try to reduce your discomfort. Call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists and let Dr. Robert Spencer or Dr. Nitza Rodriguez take a look at your painful feet. We can help you find the middle ground between pain from doing nothing and the risks of surgery. Conservative treatments may well bring relief and help you stay active. Dial (949) 364-9255 (WALK) to reach our office in Ladera Ranch, CA or use the contact tab on this webpage to connect with us online.