If you are experiencing pain and stiffness in a joint, you may have arthritis. There are many forms of this disease. A majority are found in the foot or ankle. Arthritis can make everyday routines harder to do as movement can be painful. There is currently no known cure. However, there are plenty of treatments that can help reduce pain or help with joint stiffness, making it easier for people with arthritis to enjoy their everyday activities.
The foot and ankle allow us to move easily. Humans have 28 bones in their feet and over 30 joints. Some of these joints are covered with articular cartilage and synovium which acts as protection and lubricant allowing bones to rub against each other smoothly. Ligaments connect the bones and joints, while muscles and tendons provide strength and power for movement.
Common foot and ankle arthritis types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints degenerate over time. Although usually seen in middle aged people or older, there are some cases of younger people experiencing osteoarthritis. When the cartilage is gone, there is nothing protecting your bones from rubbing roughly against each other as you move. Obesity and medical family history can affect your chances of getting osteoarthritis as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system goes after its own tissues. The synovium is attacked and eventually bone and cartilage damage occurs. Ligaments and tendons can also incur damage in this situation. The cause of this disease is unknown. It is suspected that “triggers,” such as infections or environmental factors, can awaken this process.
You could be prone to posttraumatic arthritis after experiencing an accident or injury. Your cartilage eventually wears away leaving your bones rubbing painfully against each other. Posttraumatic arthritis could show up even years after your injury. The chances of your joint becoming arthritic is seven times more likely than one who isn’t hurt, as hormones after an injury could contribute to your cartilage cells decaying.
There are a variety of symptoms that could affect you if you have arthritis. Pain may gradually increase or suddenly occur out of nowhere.
- Pain when you move
- Pain that you experience whenever you engage in physical activities
- Pain when pressure is applied
- Swelling, warmth, and redness also can be an indication of arthritis.
- Pain after long moments of not moving such as after sleeping or sitting.
- Walking could become difficult due to the pain.
Your doctor can provide the right diagnosis when it comes to arthritis. From running tests such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other lab tests, your medical examiner will be able to best assess what is bothering you and provide a solution.
Although there is no cure, there are plenty of treatments available to help relieve some of the pain. Physical therapy is always an option that will help strengthen muscles in areas affected to any degree by your arthritis and may also provide joint pain relief. Assistive devices such as braces or canes is a viable option for providing stability while taking weight and pressure off the affected area. Finally, your doctor may prescribe medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce swelling and pain. Cortisone is another drug that offers temporary relief.
Hudson Spin and Pain Medicine offers our clients quality arthritis treatment and access to specialists in the New York area. Learn more by calling today.