Arthritis is a catch-all term for a variety of conditions that erode the functioning of a normal joint. While arthritis often strikes the back, neck, hips, knees, shoulders and hands, it can also wreak havoc with the joints in your feet and ankles. Left untreated, the debilitating pain of arthritis can prevent you from walking even short distances.
Some types of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis—This is the most common type of arthritis and results from the abuse your joints take everyday as you go through your life. The soft tissue between the joints known as cartilage begins to deteriorate, making the bones rub together and causing inflammation, swelling, redness and pain in the joint. Treatment for initial stages of osteoarthritis include losing weight if you are overweight, and physical therapy that includes strength and flexibility exercises.
Rheumatoid arthritis—Also very common, this arthritis is characterized by an irritation of the synovium, which is the lining of the joint. Your immune system incorrectly identifies and attacks this lining resulting in chronic inflammation, degeneration, pain and stiffness. Early detection is essential in treating this form of arthritis since it is very aggressive and will continue to cause further damage without treatment. Rest, ice, foot soaks and massages are all helpful in relieving symptoms. Orthotic inserts can also mitigate the pain in the joints of the feet.
Additional types of inflammatory arthritis include gout and psoriatic arthritis. No matter what type of arthritis you are experiencing, a consultation with a foot care specialist is essential to developing a comprehensive treatment plan.
At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.