Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and can occur in any joint in the body, especially in the foot. As you get older, your foot’s natural shock absorbers will wear down. Having arthritis in addition to life’s wear and tear only makes matters worse; the joints become distorted and inflamed, making arthritic foot care important to consider for your overall health. Although there are many different forms of arthritis, there are three main types that occur in the foot. The three types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
The primary cause of osteoarthritis is aging. As you age, cartilage degenerates around the joints and causes friction and pain. Obesity can cause osteoarthritis through mechanical stress. Injuries that damage joints can increase your probability of developing osteoarthritis as well. A family history of osteoarthritis can also increase your likelihood for development.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the joint’s lining. While there is no known cause of rheumatoid arthritis, obesity and smoking can increase your chances of developing the condition. Women are also more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis compared to men.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid in your blood, forming painful crystals in your joints. Men are more likely to develop gout than women. People who are severely overweight or drink alcohol often are also more likely to develop gout. Furthermore, having diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of gout may increase your likelihood of developing the condition.
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling in the joints. These symptoms can make it more difficult and painful to walk. Physical activity can increase pain and discomfort. For osteoarthritis, joint pain can worsen throughout the day. Gout attacks can last several days with the first few being the worst.
Treatment varies for the different kinds of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medication or steroids can help reduce pain from inflammation of the joints. Changing shoe types can help with some symptoms. Wider shoes can help with discomfort from gout and osteoarthritis. High heels should be avoided. Shoes that have proper arch support and take pressure off the ball of the foot can help with rheumatoid arthritis. Drinking lots of water can also help rid uric acid from the blood. Losing weight, improving your diet, and limiting alcohol and smoking can also help prevent or lessen the symptoms of arthritis.
Schedule an Appointment
To learn about your options for relief from arthritis, contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Specialists online or give our team a call at (214) 366-4600 to schedule an appointment with our experienced podiatrist.