Arthritis in Feet and Ankles
Posted onMarch 10th, 2016
Arthritis is a condition where joints become inflamed. It can be extremely painful and cause stiffness of joints. Because there are so many joints in the feet and ankles, they are especially susceptible to arthritis. There are many different types of arthritis that may affect the feet and ankles. Each has the potential to have crippling effects on day-to-day activities. Simple things like running, walking—even standing—can become difficult or even arduous. Unfortunately, there is no real cure for arthritis. The good news is that there are several treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and may daily life comfortable again.
Symptoms of arthritis can be anything from pain when moving or pain associated with intense activity to joint swelling and warmth to tenderness to the touch of the joint. Of course, symptoms depend on which part of the body and which joints are affected by the arthritis. More often than not, pain increases gradually over time.
Symptoms may also lend themselves to the different types of arthritis. Below are just a few of the different types of arthritis, and how they affect your feet and ankles:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition which is the result of an autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system attacks its own tissues—in this case the joints. Often, joints are affected similarly on both sides of the body. For example: the same joint on your right foot will experience the symptoms that its counterpart on the left foot feels. Many times flares of rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by environmental factors. For example, changes in weather or air pressure may cause pain in certain joints.
Osteoarthritis is a little different than rheumatoid arthritis. It is the product of degeneration. This means that the cartilage that sits between bones in a joint has worn down due to many years of use. The cartilage is meant to be a protective cushion between bones, and when it begins to wear away, using the joint becomes more and more uncomfortable. Osteoarthritis is very gradual, as it takes years of wear-and-tear for the cartilage to degenerate to the point where stiffness and inflammation occur.
This type of arthritis is unlike the two above. It is the direct result of some sort of injury to the joint. For example, dislocations or fractures may cause posttraumatic arthritis. It can develop soon after the injury or a long time afterwards. Joints which have been exposed to some trauma are incredibly more susceptible to arthritic symptoms.
The good news is that there are treatments available for arthritic pain—both surgical and nonsurgical. Certain physical therapy processes and small lifestyle adjustments may be incredibly helpful for less serious cases of arthritis. There are also different medications that one may take to help relieve the pain, and devices like canes, walkers, and custom orthotics that can help. Surgical options for more serious cases are also available.
If you are experience pain associated with arthritis in your feet or ankles, visit Kondiles Chicagoland Footcare. Our experienced staff and doctor know how to treat arthritis and make life livable again.