How Arthritis May Affect the Feet
Arthritis is basically an inflammation of the cartilage and joint linings. It is typically accompanied by increased fluid in the joints. Arthritis can be extremely painful, and can even be immobilizing. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 46 million Americans suffer from some form of Arthritis. It seems that some forms may even be hereditary The frequency of arthritis does increase with age, but you may be surprised to learn that people all the way from infancy to middle age are potential victims of the disease. People over fifty years of age, however, are the most common Arthritis sufferers.
Each foot has 33 joints that can be affected by Arthritis. Arthritis in the foot or ankle can be especially disabling due to the pain that comes with walking and standing. Bearing weight on the affected foot or ankle can become extremely painful, so Arthritic feet can be debilitating. However, with an early diagnosis and proper medical care, you can limit or at least slow the damage that is done by the disease.
Arthritis symptoms in the foot and ankle may include:
- Stiffness in the early morning.
- Motion limitation of a joint.
- Pain which recurrs or tenderness in any joint.
- Heat or redness in a joint.
- Changes in the skin, including rashes and growths.
- Swelling in one or more joints.
Forms of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is also known as degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis. Aging generally causes the cartilage to begin to break down. As the cartilage breaks down, the arthritis sufferer's pain and discomfort becomes more and more severe. One characteristic of osteoarthritis is a dull, throbbing pain that occurs at night. The patient may experience muscle weakness or deterioration as well. Many osteoarthritis symptoms can be relieved with rest. People who are overweight are more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis. The extra weight contributes to the deterioration of cartilage and the development of bone spurs.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling disease.This type of arthritis is the most serious. Rheumatoid arthritis is a complicated and chronic inflammatory group of diseases, which usually affects more than a dozen smaller joints during its course. When located in the foot, it often afflicts both the ankles and the toes.
Treatments for arthritis in the foot or ankle may include:
- Physical therapy and exercise.
- Anti-inflammatory medication.
- Steroid injections into the joint affected by arthritis.
- Orthotics or specially prescribed shoes.
Note: Remember to consult your doctor before taking any medication.