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Arthritic Foot Conditions Podiatry

What is arthritis?

Arthritic Foot Conditions Podiatry:

Arthritis refers to the inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of joints, and is usually accompanied with an increase of fluids in the affected joints. Arthritis has many causes, and in some cases, multiple causes, and is usually associated with different illnesses and conditions.


Arthritis, Arthritic Conditions and the Feet

Arthritis is a broad and complex disease that maybe caused or aggravated by more than 100 different disorders, which makes it more complex. Our feet seems to have higher tendency to arthritis as compared to other parts of our body because each of our foot has a total of 33 joints that can be affected, PLUS there is no real way to avoid the weight bearing function and load on our feet.

Athritis and arthritic conditions can be progressively disabling and cripping. In the United States, it affects more than 40,000,000 Americans. In some of the arthritis types, it can be hereditary. Although most of the time, the risks of arthritis increases with age, BUT, everyone from infants to old age are at risk of developing arthritis, with people over 50 years old being the main targets.

Individuals who develop arthritis in their feet can limit or avoid loss of  mobility and independence with early diagnosis and proper podiatry interventions, that can be avoided.

Arthritic Foot Conditions Podiatry - Some Causes

Other than some arthritic conditions being hereditary, arthritic conditions can come about in several ways:

  • Through impact and injuries, as more noted in performance athletes and industrial workers. These are aggravated especially if the injuries have been largely unmanaged/ignored (usually injuries and pains in the feet are usually ignored)
  • Infections that are bacterial or viral in nature that affects the joints can cause arthritis. The very same organisms in pneumonia, Lyme disease and gonorrhea can cause the arthritis-causing inflammations.
  • Certain bowel conditions such as colitis and ileitis can result in arthritic conditions of the joints in the foot, ankles and toes. They seem unrelated, but some clinical cases have shown that treating them can bring relief to arthritic pains.
  • Prescription drugs and even illegal street drugs can cause and aggravate arthritis
  • An unknown heriditary autoimmune disease

Arthritic Foot Conditions Podiatry - Symptoms

As arthritis can affect the feet's structure and functions, it's vital to consult your doctor or a podiatrist if you experience any of the following in your feet:

  • swelling in one or more of the joints in your feet
  • if there is presence of pain/tenderness that seems to persist and return
  • any joints feels extra hot or looks red
  • stiffness or limited in range of motion
  • stiffness when you wake up in the morning
  • you notice changes on the skin of your feet, such as rashes, growth etc

Diagnosis

Different forms of arthritis affect the body in different ways; many have distinct systemic affects that are not common to other forms. Early diagnosis is important to effective treatment of any form. Destruction of cartilage is not reversible, and if the inflammation of arthritic disease isn't treated, both cartilage and bone can be damaged, which makes the joints increasingly difficult to move. Most forms of arthritis cannot be cured but can be controlled or brought into remission; perhaps only five percent of the most serious cases, usually of rheumatoid arthritis, result in such severe crippling that walking aids or wheelchairs are required.

Treatment

The objectives in the treatment of arthritis are controlling inflammation, preserving joint function (or restoring it if it has been lost), and curing the disease if that is possible.

Because the foot is such a frequent target, the doctor of podiatric medicine is often the first physician to encounter some of the complaints--inflammation, pain, stiffness, excessive warmth, injuries. Even bunions can be manifestations of arthritis.

Arthritis may be treated in many ways. Patient education is important. Physical therapy and exercise may be indicated, accompanied by medication. In such a complex disease system, it is no wonder that a wide variety of drugs have been used effectively to treat it; likewise, a given treatment may be very effective in one patient and almost no help at all to another. Aspirin is still the first-line drug of choice for most forms of arthritis and the benchmark against which other therapies are measured.

The control of foot functions with shoe inserts called orthoses, or with braces or specially prescribed shoes, may be recommended. Surgical intervention is a last resort in arthritis, as it is with most disease conditions; the replacement of damaged joints with artificial joints is a possible surgical procedure.

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