We find that several patients come to us with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot. However, there is one ailment that often masks itself as plantar fasciitis until we take a closer look at it: psoriatic arthritis.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of joint inflammation that affects those suffering from psoriasis. Apart from pain, swelling, and inflammation, this chronic condition can also cause dactylis, which is the swelling of toes in their entirety. It isn’t unusual for patients to develop dermatological evidence of psoriasis before experiencing arthritic issues.
What are the Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?
This condition can affect any of the bones and joints in your feet and ankles. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are usually persistent throughout the day and often include the following:
- Swelling in feet
- Stiffness in the feet and ankles
- Pain and difficulty with walking, especially in the morning or following an extended period of rest
- Inflammation and tenderness in toe joints
- Heel pain similar to plantar fasciitis
- Changes in toenails or the surrounding skin.
- Sometimes nails will thicken and become brittle, which is often mistaken for a fungal infection.
Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to foot or joint deformities such as claw toe and flatfoot. These changes can then lead to other podiatric issues such as corns, calluses, and more. Psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be severe enough that patients will experience disability.
How is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?
Your podiatrist will examine your feet for pain, swelling, range of motion, and more. He or she may also order X-rays, ultrasounds, or other imaging tests of the bone and soft tissue to narrow in on a proper diagnosis. You can feel assured knowing that your podiatrist is trained to recognize the signs of psoriatic arthritis in all parts of the foot and ankle!
How is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis; however, there are ways to help slow down its progression and help you feel more comfortable. After making a complete observation and diagnosis, we will treat your symptoms with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescribed suppressive medication to help with pain management. We can also recommend lifestyle changes and proper footwear to ease symptoms. Orthotics may be necessary if a deformity has occurred. And of course, we will only consider surgery for the affected joints and bones if all other alternatives have failed.
How Can I Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis can affect a wide variety of people and is a condition that cannot be prevented. If you are at risk, however, it’s smart to act quickly if you begin noticing symptoms such as swollen or painful toes. In the meantime, maintain a healthy weight, watch your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly, and wear well-fitting shoes to keep your feet and ankles happy. Remember, though – an early diagnosis is essential in effectively managing this disease! If you have been experiencing heel pain or swelling in your feet or toes, turn to the experienced doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We can help get you back on your feet in no time. Call us at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!