13 Expert Approved Ways To Relieve Arthritic Foot Pain

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Osteoarthritis in the foot usually causes significant pain in the joint between the big toe and the foot. Learn several ways to relieve arthritic foot pain in the guide below.

man rubbing his feet to relieve arthritic foot pain
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Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints, causing stiffness and pain. It’s not surprising that people with arthritis experience foot pain. The disease predominantly affects the joints, and the foot contains 30 joints.

Different types of arthritis trigger foot pain, particularly in senior citizens. Each has a significant impact on an individual’s health, including reduced balance, reduced mobility, and reduced quality of life. But there are many different ways to relieve arthritic foot pain so you shouldn’t suffer needlessly.

How Different Types Of Arthritis Hurt Your Feet

Osteoarthritis (OA)

This is the most common type of arthritis, and it is degenerative. Osteoarthritis is mainly a result of wear and tear or the breakdown of cartilage between joints. This allows joint bones to rub against each other, causing significant discomfort and pain. Osteoarthritis mainly occurs in the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) – this is the joint that connects the big toe and the foot.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This is a form of inflammatory arthritis that usually occurs in both feet, at the same time, including the toes, and can affect the same joints of each foot. Rheumatoid arthritis is a significant cause of foot pain, and a staggering 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis will experience foot problems.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PA)

This is a type of arthritis that is associated with psoriasis – an autoimmune disease. Psoriatic arthritis can take a toll on the feet, especially the toes. PA is known to cause sausage-like swelling of the toes, which can cause severe pain. PA also causes inflammation of the entheses – the area where ligaments and tendons connect to the bone.


This is a type of arthritis that appears only on the feet, often the big toe. Gout arthritis occurs when deposits of uric acid crystals settle in and around the joints.

Infectious Arthritis

This is a form of arthritis that results from an infection within the joints. Infectious arthritis can affect the same joints and can cause discomfort and chronic foot pain.

Arthritic Pain Varies, But It Can Be Managed

First and foremost, if you are concerned that you might have arthritis in your feet, see your doctor and a podiatrist as soon as possible. As with many conditions, arthritis is easy to treat when the necessary steps are taken early to alleviate symptoms and slow progress.

If you’re experiencing arthritic foot pain, you are not alone. However, it’s important to note that arthritis pain varies. That means that a relative or friend with the same kind of arthritis may experience a different level of pain. Even your arthritic foot pain can change from time to time.

In the end, there’s no magic concoction or solution to get rid of arthritis foot pain. What works for your neighbor may not work for you, so you probably have to work together with your doctor and podiatrist to discover ways that work for you.

senior man rubbing his painful arthritic foot

Consider These 13 Ways for Easing Arthritic Pain

  1. Exercise: Exercises are one of those things that are easy to say but tough to do and maintain. Exercising for people with foot pain is no walk in the park; it can be especially tricky. But the advantages of exercising when you have arthritic pain are evident. Moving more helps maintain joint integrity and function, reducing fatigue and pain.
  2. Manage Your Weight: Your weight can have a significant impact on arthritic foot pain. Talk to your doctor and set a realistic weight loss goal. Losing weight will help reduce the stress and pressure on your knee, hips, feet, and joints hence decreasing pain and even preventing future damage to your joints.
  3. Use Pain Medication: If you’re suffering from arthritic foot pain, over-the-counter pain meds such as naproxen and aspirin can help. Many different pain meds can help relieve foot pain. Your physician or podiatrist can help you find the right ones.
  4. Heat And Cold Therapy: This is a form of therapy where the patient utilizes heat and cold to relieve the painful joints. Heat and cold treatment involve applying heating pads and ice packs on painful and inflamed joints.
  5. Taking a Warm Bath is another heat treatment to ease stiffness and discomfort in joints overnight.
  6. Cold therapies can include using an ice pack for quick pain relief in the joints. When using the cold treatment method, never apply ice directly to your skin.
  7. Invest In The Right Footwear: The most effective way to manage and reduce arthritic pain is to invest in the right footwear. Ask an experienced podiatrist for recommendations when choosing footwear. When you have arthritis, your footwear can make all the difference. So, invest in high-quality supportive shoes and comforting socks. I personally recommend the products at Orthofeet for people with arthritic foot pain.
  8. Herbal Therapies: While there’s no concrete proof to support this method, some herbal therapies and medicines and even putting a bar of soap in bed have been found to be effective in managing to treat arthritic symptoms and foot pain.
  9. Physical Therapy: Moving more and exercising can go a long way in helping you manage arthritic foot pain. However, with all the pain involved, it can be excruciatingly painful even to perform physical activities alone. Luckily, there are many reliable therapists you can talk to – find one or talk to your doctor regarding a referral to one.
  10. Steroid Injections: Your physician may decide to use these to stabilize patients and reduce the inflammatory process. Steroid injections can reduce inflammation and swelling, decreasing discomfort and pain in joints.
  11. Alternative Treatments: Studies have repeatedly shown that alternative treatment options such as acupuncture, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, and creams work well for some arthritic patients. Be sure to consult your doctor before turning to alternative treatments.
  12. Pamper Your Feet: If you live with arthritic pain, the last thing you want is to compound the problem by neglecting your feet. Consider pampering your feet by trimming your nails and even getting a massage. A massage can help ease the stiffness in your joints, which in turn alleviates the pain. Ask your physician to recommend a massage therapist who has experience with arthritic patients.
  13. Surgery Options: Many surgeries can be performed to ease arthritic foot pain. They include cheilectomy, arthrodesis, and arthroplasty. Surgery options are an excellent choice for people with disabling arthritic pain.

Many people with arthritis are convinced that pain is a part of living with the condition, and they have to bear it. But arthritic pain need not be something you have to live with – you can take action to manage the pain.

By combining the methods listed above, you may find that even basic tasks that have become challenging – like climbing stairs or bending down – become easier!


  1. https://orthop.washington.edu/patient-care/articles/arthritis/managing-arthritis-pain.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/pain/index.htm
  3. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/4-tips-for-managing-chronic-pain
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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