With 33 joints and a remarkable daily weight load, it’s no wonder that feet are especially prone to arthritis. Arthritis is a potentially debilitating condition that affects almost 40 million Americans, most of them over age 50. The disease causes inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. —an especially painful situation for the feet and ankles.
There is hope, however, in identifying the disease early and seeking appropriate medical care.
Following are common symptoms of arthritis in the foot and ankle:
Tightness in the joints upon waking
Less range of motion, soreness, swelling or pain in the joints
Rashes or other problems with the skin surrounding a joint
Joints that look red or feel warm
Pain with movement
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is frequently called degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis. Aging and activity usually brings on a breakdown in cartilage, and pain gets progressively more severe. Dull, throbbing nighttime pain is characteristic, and may be accompanied by muscle weakness or deterioration. Many of these symptoms can be relieved with rest, proper support and medication.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a serious form of arthritis. It is an inflammatory disease that can lead to debilitating pain. Rheumatoid arthritis in the foot often causes problems in the toes and ankles.
Doctors treat arthritis of the foot and ankle in a variety of ways, including:
Exercise, especially under the guidance of a physical therapist
Anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections