What is Arthritis?
Arthritis, which can affect both adults and children, is one of the top causes of disability for people living in America. Arthritis is a disease of the joints that causes inflammation and stiffening of your joints. Arthritis usually occurs as you get older and is more frequent in women than men.
Arthritis can affect various parts of your body, including your feet and ankles. The most common types of arthritis that affect the feet include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Left untreated, arthritis that affects the foot or ankle can lead to severe pain that makes walking and daily activities difficult.
Routine appointments with your foot doctor can help your doctor regularly assess the condition of your feet and provide treatment where needed. Left untreated, arthritis may also lead to permanent changes in the joints or foot and ankle deformities.
What causes arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by various factors, including:
- Sustaining certain injuries
- Having an abnormal metabolism
- Inheriting the condition
- Having certain infections
- Having certain immune system deficiencies
Smoking, certain diets, and having an occupation that is physically demanding may also increase your risk of developing arthritis. Other risk factors for developing arthritis may include:
- Being overweight
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Symptoms of arthritis typically depend on the type of arthritis that you have and what areas of your foot or ankle are affected. In general, symptoms of arthritis may include:
- Pain during movement
- Joints that are sensitive to touch
- Stiffness, redness, or swelling of the joints
- Impaired mobility and difficulty walking
- Increased pain with strenuous activity
- How is arthritis diagnosed?
To diagnose whether you have arthritic feet or ankles, your doctor will examine the affected areas, checking for signs and symptoms of arthritis, such as redness, swelling, or warmness. Your doctor may also assess other factors that may be affecting the health of your feet, such as what type of shoes you wear and how you walk. To help confirm a diagnosis, your doctor may also suggest additional lab testing and imaging.
Can arthritis lead to complications if left untreated?
Left untreated, arthritis of the foot and ankle can lead to difficulties in walking, foot and ankle deformities, and permanent changes in the joints.
How is arthritis treated?
Treatment options for arthritis will vary based on the type of arthritis that you have. For many types of arthritis, there is no cure. While there may not be a cure for most types of arthritis, conservative treatment options are available for alleviating foot pain and improving joint functionality. Treatment options for arthritis may include:
- Avoiding activities which provoke arthritic pain
- Avoiding high-impact sports, such as jogging
- Maintaining an appropriate weight to lessen the stress placed on your feet
- Oral anti-inflammatories or other oral medications
- Physical therapy and exercise to help improve mobility
- Orthotics or other devices
- Steroid injections
If the above conservative treatment methods do not help alleviate your foot pain or improve joint mobility, your doctor may recommend certain surgical treatment options. Surgical treatment options may include joint repair, joint replacement, and joint fusion.
Schedule Your Arthritis Consultation Today!
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of arthritic feet, consult a podiatrist. Dr. Robert Stein is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine who’s been in practice for over 25 years and strives to ensure that adults and children live without foot pain or discomfort. Call our Cedarhurst location at (516) 374-3668 or call our Franklin Square location at (516) 775-8440 to schedule an appointment with South Shore Foot Care today.