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Footnotes / Blog

Is Osteoarthritis Causing Pain In Your Feet?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017 Elizabeth Anthony

Often called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. This problem occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.

Specific Symptoms

The most common presenting symptom is stiffness of one or more joints first thing in the morning, or after resting. Pain is also often associated. Swelling after a lot activity is also a symptom. Patients also report having bony prominences at the affected joints which they can feel through the skin.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Reduction in cartilage covering the ends of bones at joints is what causes pain associated with arthritis. Certain things put patients at a higher risk for this cartilage loss.

  • Genes
    • Patient’s suffering from this condition report that other members of their family also suffer from OA.
  • Trauma
    • Injury to joints put patients at increased risk.
  • Obesity
    • Extra weight places greater strain on the bones and joint of the body, increasing the chances of developing OA.
  • Age
    • Patients are most likely to develop OA as they age due to daily wear and tear on joints.

How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed? 

Doctors will clinically exam their patients as well as take a full history of the symptoms. Diagnostic imaging is then utilized to look for bony changes related to OA. Xray imaging often shows “joint mice” which are tiny piece of bone floating in osteoarthritic joints. Bony proliferation can also be seen on xray.

Treatment Options

OA cannot at this time be reversed. It can be managed with medications (NSAIDS, Tylenol) and other conservative treatment options such as physical therapy.

When pain cannot be controlled conservatively, more invasive treatment is warranted.

  • Cortisone Injections
    • Steroids injected into a joint decrease pain and swelling. However only 3-4 injections per year are recommended, because the cortisone can weaken the surrounding ligaments and tendons of the affected joint.

  • Joint Replacement
    • Damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with man made material to form a functioning joint.

  • Joint Fusions
    • Fusing the affect joints eliminates the painful motion. This can be an option in smaller joints or when patient’s are unable to receive an implant.


If you are suffering from symptoms of osteoarthritis in your feet, see one of the licensed podiatrists at Innovative Foot and Ankle. We have 4 New Jersey office locations in Essex County, Union County, Hudson County and Bergen County.