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Stiff, Achy Feet: Could It Be Osteoarthritis?

Stiff, Achy Feet: Could It Be Osteoarthritis?

Your two feet contain a quarter of the bones in your entire body — 26 in each. More impressive is the fact that these small bones come together to form 33 joints in each foot.

It should come as no surprise, given this large number of joints in your feet, that arthritis can strike, especially osteoarthritis (OA) — the most common form of joint disease.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, so our team at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle is focusing on the effects of arthritis on your feet. If your feet are achy and stiff, and you can’t figure out why, you’ll want to read on to see whether OA might be the culprit.

Osteoarthritis — a wear-and-tear disease

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but OA is the most common. About 58.5 million people in the United States have arthritis, and OA accounts for more than 32.5 million cases.

OA is more prevalent than other forms of arthritis because it’s a wear-and-tear issue. Over time, the protective cartilage inside your joints breaks down, allowing your bones to rub together. The unprotected contact between the bones in your joints leads to pain and inflammation, which are the hallmarks of OA.

Osteoarthritis and your feet

OA can develop in any of your toe joints, but it most commonly affects the hallux rigidus in your big toe located at the base of your toe. Since your big toe bears much of your weight with each step, it makes sense that this joint wears down more quickly. 

Moving up the length of your foot, OA can also develop in your midfoot in your tarsometatarsal joints. These joints help create the arches in your feet.

Lastly, arthritis can also develop in the three joints located below your ankle in your hindfoot. These joints facilitate side-to-side movement in your feet and also support your ankle.

Symptoms of OA in your feet

As the title of our blog suggests, stiffness and achiness are two common side effects of OA in your feet. You may experience:

Since OA is progressive, your symptoms are typically gradual. For example, you may experience foot pain only after vigorous activity, but the pain can become more constant as the OA advances. 

The best way to find out whether OA is behind your foot pain is to come to see us. After a quick review of your symptoms, we can use advanced imaging to get a closer look inside the joints in your feet to look for signs of OA.

If we confirm OA, we get started on a treatment plan to help manage the discomfort, improve your mobility, and slow the progression of the disease.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of arthritis in your feet, please contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, Hendersonville, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to schedule an appointment.

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