Experiencing pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, or stiffness in a foot or ankle joint can make every weight-bearing moment miserable. Is podiatric joint pain limiting your mobility or negatively affecting your quality of life? At Omaha Foot and Ankle Specialists, our knowledgeable and highly-skilled podiatrists, Dr. Michael Cullen and Dr. Nathan Penney, can identify the cause of your joint pain and develop a treatment plan to provide relief. Here's what you need to know.

Getting to the Bottom of Podiatric Joint Pain

Your feet and ankles may not look particularly complex, but you're standing on biomechanical marvels comprised of nearly 30 different bones and more than a hundred muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all of which work together to enable weight-bearing and ambulatory movement.

Every point where two or more bones meet is a joint, and each foot and ankle has 35 of them (33 foot joints and two ankle joints)—which provides ample opportunities for something to go painfully wrong. Common causes of podiatric joint pain include:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout
  • Tendinitis
  • Bunions
  • Bursitis
  • Strains or sprains
  • Stress fractures
  • Capsulitis of the second toe

Living With Painful Foot and Ankle Joints

Joint pain is often accompanied by swelling, stiffness, bruising, and a feeling of increased warmth over the affected area. The pain can show up as a dull ache, or feel sharp and severe, with painful episodes being sudden and short-lived or persistent and long-lasting. The effects of foot or ankle joint pain can range from uncomfortable to debilitating or even disabling. When problems with the joints in your feet or ankles make standing without pain, climbing a flight of stairs, getting through your shift at work, or taking your dog for his daily walk difficult, our caring and capable podiatrists offer answers and effective treatment options.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As experienced leaders in the field of podiatry, Dr. Cullen and Dr. Penney are adept at diagnosing and managing even complex, difficult-to-treat podiatric joint pain issues. We will work with you to determine the precise cause of your joint pain, a process that involves carefully reviewing your medical history, discussing your symptoms, and conducting a thorough examination of your feet and ankles. If we need additional information, we may ask you to perform a few simple exercises to allow us to analyze your gait and posture; use X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to get a better look at your joints; or run a blood test to check for rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions.

Treatment depends largely on the root cause of your joint pain, but may include:

  • R.I.C.E.  Standing for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, this first-line conservative treatment promotes healing and prevents additional injury during recovery
  • Medication. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, and prescription drugs or injections can be used to control pain, inflammation, and discomfort
  • Physical rehabilitation. Stretching and strengthening exercises may help improve conditions that cause or contribute to joint pain in your feet or ankles
  • Custom orthotics. We use 3D printed custom orthotics to provide your feet (and ankles) with support and cushioning exactly where they need it
  • Advanced therapies. We offer a number of cutting-edge, non-surgical interventions, such as shockwave therapy and MLS Laser Therapy
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery may prove the best option for correcting a serious injury or structural deformity that's causing foot or ankle joint pain

Standing Up to Joint Pain

Don't put up with joint pain or stop doing the things you love to avoid discomfort. At Omaha Foot and Ankle Specialists, our award-winning podiatrists will work with you to develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain and get you back on your feet. Take the first step toward putting podiatric joint pain behind you. Complete our contact form or call our office at 402-333-8856 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cullen or Dr. Penney.