There are over 30 joints in each of the feet. If arthritis develops in one or more of these joints, walking and basic mobility can become difficult. Common symptoms of arthritis in the feet include pain, limited mobility and swelling. Deformities may appear at later stages.
Find out what are the most common types of arthritis in the feet, and get some good advice on how to care for those painful feet.
The 4 Types of Arthritis that Affect the Foot and Ankle:
1. Osteoarthritis. Each bone in the foot is covered with cartilage that connects to the cartilage of another bone in the foot. The meeting of these two bones makes up a “joint”. Over time, the cartilage can become frayed. When the bones rub up against each other there is friction. This roughness leads to irritation, inflammation and pain in the joint – or osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis usually develops later in life. Once a joint is afflicted, the arthritis tends to worsen over time. Osteoarthritis is particularly common among the elderly, but people who are obese are also at higher risk for the disease due to the added pressure their body mass exerts on their joints.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system turns on the body and begins destroying cartilage in the joints. This is a system-wide attack, and it usually does not limit itself to isolated joints in the feet. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not clearly understood. The disease does not seem to be genetic in the strictest sense, although researchers do believe that certain people are predisposed to developing the condition.
3. Post-Traumatic Arthritis. Post-Traumatic Arthritis (as its name implies) is directly linked to trauma. It often forms as the result of dislocations, fractures or ligament injuries in the feet that damage the joint. Although these foot injuries are responsible for post-traumatic arthritis, sometimes the arthritis does not develop until years later. That said, a joint that has experienced some kind of trauma is 7 times more likely to develop arthritis than a healthy joint.
4. Gout. It is characterized by recurring painful attacks associated with high level of uric acid. This will later cause the formation of crystals that deposits in joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, etc. The big toe is often involved and gets very inflamed.
Arthritis in the Feet And Its Symptoms
The obvious symptom would be pain to the foot joint where it is swollen. Movement may also be hindered. Other symptoms of arthritis include morning stiffness, rashes, redness and heat in the joint.
Relieving Arthritis Foot Pain
- Physical exercise and movement is a way to relieve pain and maintain flexibility. Low impact activities are recommended. Examples include swimming, yoga and walking.
- Massaging the foot can also relieve its symptoms.
- Medication can be used. Over-the-counter pain relievers include topical creams, aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. You doctor may also prescribe pain killers.
- Supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and fish oil (omega-3) can help in dealing with pain and inflammation.
- Invest in comfortable, padded shoes that offer good support.
- An extra, larger pair could be needed if swelling varies.
- Stretchable shoes can also be an option in case of swelling or bunions.
- Don’t wear high heels.
- To buy arthritis shoes, visit a specialized store to have your feet measured up.
- Buying orthopedic shoes online can be an option if you don’t have access to a specialized store.
SECURITY ADVICE: If your gait is unsteady, consider using a walking aid.
This article reviewed 4 common types of arthritis in the feet. Note that there can be a combination of these types. You can follow some of the tips given to lessen the impact of walking on your weakened articulations.
For more information about a specific arthritis type, read Common Types of Arthritis.
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