Arthritis can affect just about anyone. And with 26 bones and 33 joints in each foot, this gives the disease a lot of areas to develop. The faces of arthritis are not just the elderly, as the condition can occur at any age—even infancy.
Simply put, arthritis is inflammation within the joints. This can happen from an injury, chronic wear and tear, or even from the immune system attacking your joints. It is a far-too-common misconception that “nothing can be done” for this disease.
There are more than one hundred types of arthritis, but today let’s focus on a few of the most common and the advances in treatment options.
This is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs from the natural breakdown of joint cartilage, which causes inflammation with the joint. Eventually, the joint space narrows, spurs form around it, and bones can grind together. Breakdown of the joint lining is caused by age or injury, but can also be hastened by abnormal stress to the joints over time (examples of this are obesity and flat feet).
RA is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints. When the body attacks the cartilage, it causes stiffness and inflammation. Since this is a systemic condition, it usually affects multiple joints.
The hallmark of arthritis treatment has always focused on managing symptoms. Injections, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, and activity modification are usually involved. The hardest part about treatment is that most patients do not feel symptoms that would stimulate a doctor’s visit until 80% of the joint is destroyed. This limits treatment options, as we still do not have a great way to regrow cartilage in the body.
Newer treatment options involve stimulating the body’s own ability to hear. Various injections, such as PRP, have been shown to slow the disease process and alleviate pain. Surgical options should be considered as well, including joint implants and resection of painful bone. Scoping of joints, such as the ankle, can also assist in helping the body repair damage to the joint.
Our overall health plays a big role in our joints. The highest priority on all of our lists should be our weight. Shedding a few extra pounds decreases our risk of getting arthritis and can make it easier to heal. We also need to concentrate on our muscles. The muscles that help with balance can take the stress off of a joint but need more than just a normal day of walking and standing to strengthen. The best way to actively strengthen these muscles is to have a fully functional exam, available from a physical therapist, to find out which muscle groups need to be worked on the most.
Call the FAAWC today to schedule your appointment to talk to our podiatrists about your risk for or currently active arthritis. We can help set up a treatment plan that gets you back on your feet and reduces further arthritis damage. Call 740.363.4373 today!Leave a reply