“My Foot Joints Are Aching”
Arthritis is a disease which affects almost 40 million Americans. At times it can be hereditary but can also be caused by chronic injury or even an acute injury. While the prevalence of arthritis increases with age, all people can fall victim. The most common age of occurrence is people over 50. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition targeting the cartilage and joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. It is often a part of larger disease process that may involve more systemic disorders. The foot is often more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body due to the 33 joints contained to the foot which can be afflicted.
Symptoms and Various Types of Foot Arthritis
Symptoms can include, but are not limited to: early morning stiffness, limitation in motion of joint, recurring pain or tenderness in any joint, redness or heat in a joint, swelling in one or more joints. On exam, point tenderness and swelling can be identified. On x-ray, narrowing of the joint is noted. Types of arthritis include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory arthritis (psoriatic and gout) and post traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is often known as degenerative joint. Aging can cause thinning or a breakdown in cartilage, causing the joint to become narrow and painful. Often, the pain can be relieved with rest. A dull, throbbing nighttime pain is characteristic, and it may be accompanied by muscle weakness or deterioration.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a major debilitating disorder, and perhaps the most serious form of arthritis. It is a complex, autoimmune disorder, often affecting more than a dozen smaller joints during its course. It is symmetrical, an usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body
Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot or ankle. Fractures or dislocations damage the joint surface causing the cartilage of the joints to wear away. This can develop many years after the initial injury. An injured joint is about seven times more likely than an uninjured joint to become arthritic, even if the injury is properly treated.
Popular Treatments of the Most Common Arthritis Types
Arthritis can be treated in many ways, including: physical therapy and exercise, medication such as anti-inflammatory medicine, supportive devices such as an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to help improve mobility. Sometimes inserts (orthotics) or custom-made shoes with stiff soles and rocker bottoms can help minimize pressure on the foot and decrease pain.