Arthritis, or rheumatism, can be hard to diagnose because symptoms can vary from patient to patient and even from one joint to another in the same patient. Most people with arthritis will experience joint pain and stiffness at some point, but this isn’t always the case. For example, some patients with knee arthritis may not have any pain or other symptoms while others might experience discomfort in other parts of their body, such as their feet. If you think you might have arthritis, check out these signs and symptoms on the feet below to see if you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Arthritis symptoms can sometimes be difficult to determine in certain body parts, especially the feet and toes. Many people don’t realize that these parts of the body can get arthritis as well; however, the pain and swelling are just as real as they would be in any other joint in the body. If you think you might have arthritis symptoms on your feet, check out this guide to help you recognize what they might be, what they could mean, and how to treat them before they progress into something worse.

1. Joint Pain is a sign of arthritis

More than 80 percent of people with arthritis will develop pain and stiffness in their joints, especially their hands, knees, hips and feet. Their joint pain may be worse when they are inactive such as sleeping or sitting for long periods of time. The pain may also be worse in cold weather or after standing for a long period of time. It is important to recognize these symptoms as early as possible to help prevent further progression of joint damage. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your arthritis symptoms.

The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage and bone start to wear down. Arthritis symptoms typically set in slowly over time, making early diagnosis challenging. Check your joints for swollen or red skin, achy muscles, and changes in the range of motion. As you get older, you should also be sure to inspect your knees every morning.

2. Swelling

If you’re concerned about your feet, swelling is a good place to start. If one foot or ankle is consistently larger than its counterpart, chances are it’s suffering from arthritis. Swelling can happen in other joints, too, so take a look at both feet when you notice extra puffiness.

Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, can make joints swell up. If you’re not used to looking at your feet, then it might be a good idea to get someone else to take a look at them every now and then. Sudden swelling can mean that something is wrong and needs medical attention as soon as possible.

3. Inability to Walk

If your ability to walk is affected, there could be a number of things happening to you. Commonly, swelling will start in one foot and continue up into your lower leg. The swelling can cause pain and stiffness, but can also make it difficult for you to walk without a limp or lose your balance. It’s possible that you are experiencing some arthritis symptoms on your feet. Arthritis can cause an increase in activity level or an inability to move at all.

There are two different types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects most joints in your body and causes severe pain and discomfort after periods of rest. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty walking, schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. This could be a sign of arthritis symptoms that should not be ignored.

4. Sensitivity to Touch

One of our favorite arthritis symptoms is foot sensitivity. This occurs because of changes in fat tissue within your feet and a reduction in nerve endings. As you age, your body’s sensory neurons decrease by 2 percent per year, which results in less communication between your body and its peripheral nerves. Since these neurons are needed to interpret pressure, touch, pain and temperature sensations, they contribute to several common symptoms of arthritis such as foot sensitivity.

If you think your feet feel extra sensitive, it’s probably because they are. In fact, if you experience foot pain while walking that goes away after resting, then you may be suffering from arthritis symptoms.

5. Redness in the Skin

Pain in a toe or finger joint can be caused by arthritis. Examine your toes and fingers for redness in the skin around them, which may indicate an infection.

Skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis can cause redness in sensitive areas of skin, including one’s feet. Rosacea is a common condition that causes redness around your cheeks, nose, chin and eyes; sometimes it affects other areas such as your neck or forearms. Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes flaky patches to appear all over one’s body; these patches are known for causing redness on places such as one’s elbows and knees.

6. Numbness in the Skin

There are several different types of arthritis that can cause numbness in the feet and toes. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect every joint in your body, but it’s commonly found in your hands and feet. It results from a buildup of immune system cells, which attack the healthy tissue around joints causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may also experience numbness around their ankles, feet, or toes because nerve damage often occurs simultaneously with joint inflammation.

If you’re experiencing a tingling sensation or numbness in your feet, it could be an early sign of diabetes. Along with that uncomfortable feeling, there are usually more obvious symptoms like frequent urination and extreme thirst.

7. Tenderness is a sign of arthritis

It is a disease that causes joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain. You will often see symptoms in your fingers, hands, knees, or hips. However, there are ways you can get arthritis symptoms in your feet as well. Here are some tips to help you determine if you have foot arthritis so you can seek treatment if needed: When walking or standing for extended periods of time (usually for more than two hours) be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch out your legs and rest them.

It often starts with a mild case of stiffness in joints. In some cases, one can feel stiffness, soreness, or discomfort in joints and have no cause for concern. However, if your symptoms persist beyond a few days and you notice tenderness associated with these symptoms, it is advised that you seek medical attention to diagnose and start treating arthritis early. Tenderness is an early symptom of osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or gout.

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