Arthritis is an inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in fluid at the joint. The foot can be especially sensitive to arthritis, because there are thirty-three different joints in a single foot. Arthritis in the joints can cause extreme foot pain and sometimes become debilitating.
The causes of arthritis are too numerous to name here, but it is often associated with other types of illnesses. In some forms it does seem to be hereditary. It is estimated that over 70 million people in America (one out of three) suffer from some form of arthritis. It can be found in infants to adults, but the majority of those who have it are over fifty years of age. For more information, visit the Arthritis Foundation at www.arthritis.org.
Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is frequently called degenerative joint disease, and usually occurs as we get older and the cartilage breaks down in our joints. It is usually associated with a dull ache and sometimes goes away with rest.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a major crippling disorder and the most serious form of arthritis. It is usually occurs in a symmetrical pattern—both ankles, both knees, etc. It may also affect various systems of the body such as the lungs, eyes, heart, and nervous system. Women are three to four times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than are men.
Rheumatoid arthritis has a much more acute onset than osteoarthritis. It is characterized by alternating periods of remission and exacerbation. The symptoms last for weeks or months; they then dissipate and may not return again.
Gout is a condition caused by the buildup of the salts of uric acid and is most commonly found in men. The foot’s big toe joint is a common location for this issue. Gout is extremely painful and can be debilitating if left untreated. Gout can be treated with medications, proper diet, and exercise
There are a number of different ways to effectively treat arthritis. Since the foot has so many joints, it is important to see a foot specialist when treating arthritis of the foot. See your local SHOES-n-FEET® for a doctor referral. There are number of different medicines that can be prescribed by a doctor to help control the effects of arthritis.
There are also a number of shoes and shoe inserts that can help minimize how hard the foot has to work to walk and stand. A proper shoe and a good arch support can minimize how much the joints of the foot have to move to walk. At SHOES-n-FEET we understand how the foot functions and what shoes can assist in reducing your foot pain.