Arthritis of the Feet: Top 5 Treatments for Easier Movement

Quincy AdamArthritis Treatments

arthritis feet
Osteoarthritis is often the culprit behind painful, stiff feet. Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that occurs when protective cartilage breaks down, causing bones to painfully rub against each other.1

Fortunately, there are many effective treatments to help people who suffer from arthritis of the feet. Find out some ways to move with greater ease and less pain. Before starting any of these treatments, however, make sure you discuss them with your physician.

1. Orthotic Devices

A pad or insert placed inside your shoe can help with foot pain. These pads can be purchased over the counter at your local drugstore, or your physician can create a custom-fitted orthotic for you. However, before selecting an orthotic device randomly, consult with your doctor. There are many different types of orthotics and if you select the wrong one, you could inadvertently worsen your foot pain.2

2. Stretching

Stretching can alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis by increasing flexibility and reducing pain. Here are three stretches that may offer you relief:

  • Achilles Tendon Stretch – Face the wall, standing about two feet away from it. Place your hands on the wall and move one foot in front of the other. Gently bend your front knee while leaning forward. Hold for ten seconds and repeat this sequence twice before switching to the other leg.
  • Big Toe – Hook a large rubber band around both of your big toes. Then, use your feet (not your leg muscles) to move your big toes away from each other. Hold the stretch for five seconds before resting. Perform this stretch ten times.
  • All Toes – Wrap a rubber band around all of your toes on one foot. Then, stretch your toes wide apart and hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times.3

3. Medication

Doctors use a number of different medications to reduce the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. Oftentimes, they’ll prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or inject a corticosteroid directly into the joint to reduce pain. Your doctor may also recommend an analgesic salve.4

4. Cold Packs and Heating Pads

Heat and cold therapy may be useful for treating osteoarthritis. Try experimenting with both to see what works best for you.
Heat can help with pain and stiffness associated with joint inactivity. Simply place a heating pad set to low or medium on your feet for 20 minutes two to three times a day. Alternatively, a cold pack may be useful for numbing pain, just be sure to wrap it in a wet washcloth or pillowcase before applying it to your skin.5

5. Massage

When your feet are aching, a foot massage might be the way to go. Massages are a relaxing way to increase blood flow to the feet, and they may reduce pain for some arthritis sufferers. Just apply lotion and begin kneading your feet with your knuckles or use a roller to make the job even easier.6

While osteoarthritis can be painful, there are ways to alleviate discomfort so you can experience greater mobility and more enjoyment throughout your day. While you always want to consult with your physician before beginning a new treatment, many arthritis sufferers have found medication, stretching, heating pads, cold packs, orthotics, and foot massages to offer relief.


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What is Osteoarthritis? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public. Available at
http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis_ff.asp. Accessed July 18, 2015.

2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Orthotics. Available at
http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00172. Accessed July 17, 2015.

3 WebMD. Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis. Available at
http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/foot-ankle-osteoarthritis?page=2. Accessed July 17, 2015.

4 Arthritis Foundation. Medications to Treat Feet. Available at
http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/foot-heel-and-toe-pain/treatment/foot-arthritis-medication.php. Accessed July 17, 2015.

5 WebMD. Osteoarthritis: Heat and Cold Therapy- opic Overview. Available at
http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/tc/osteoarthritis-heat-and-cold-therapy-topic-overview. Accessed July 17, 2015.

6 Arthritis Foundation. Ways to Prevent Foot Pain and Get Around. Available at
http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/foot-heel-and-toe-pain/foot-heel-and-toe-care/prevent-foot-pain.php. Accessed July 17, 2015.