The term arthritis is defined as joint inflammation, joint pain, and/or joint disease, which is associated with over 100 different types of health conditions. Since arthritis affects the joints in the body, the foot is more likely to be at risk, because it contains more than 30 joints that enable movement and mobility.
Learn more about foot arthritis, the symptoms that can occur, and how the experts at Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, provide high-quality treatment and arthritic foot care.
Foot arthritis is characterized by inflammation of one or more of the joints of the foot. This foot condition is extremely painful and uncomfortable, and can cause limitations in simple physical tasks, such as walking or standing. With over 30 joints present in the foot, this part of the body has a higher risk of developing any type of arthritis. Patients of any age can develop arthritis – it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Symptoms of foot arthritis can differ based on which joint is affected, however, the main symptoms of foot arthritis include:
The most common types of foot arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, which is when the cartilage in the joints gradually deteriorates, is also referred to as degenerative or wear-and-tear arthritis. This condition causes the protective cushioning between the bones to diminish, causing the bones to rub together and develop painful bone spurs. Osteoarthritis develops slowly, causing pain and stiffness that worsens over time. This disease is most common for patients who are of older age, overweight, or who have a family history of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system attacks its own tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune cells attack the synovium or synovial membrane (the soft tissue that lines the joints), causing inflammation and swelling. Over a period of time, the inflamed synovium attacks and damages the bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, which can result in severe joint deformity and disability. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that is symmetrical, meaning that it usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, however, researchers believe that genetics plays a role, as well as infections or environmental factors.
Post-traumatic arthritis can occur as a result of an injury to the foot. The most common injuries that damage the joint surface, such as dislocations, sprains, and/or fractures, can lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Injury to the joint causes the cartilage to diminish, oftentimes leaving the patient in pain. This can occur many years after the initial injury.
Arthritis in the foot can occur as a result of many varying factors, including:
The primary cause of foot arthritis is wear and tear of the smooth cartilage that protects the joints and bones from rubbing directly on one another. This can happen because of aging, genetics, being overweight, and/or having a foot injury. Any type of damage to the cartilage in the joints can accelerate an arthritic disease.
To diagnose foot arthritis, the doctor will begin by evaluating the foot for swelling and review the range of movement, while confirming if the patient is experiencing any pain. During the exam, the doctor will ask a series of questions to determine when the pain started, where the pain originates from, and if an injury took place. They will also consider family medical history as well as the impact of the patient’s footwear and if it sufficiently supports the foot and ankle. The doctor may require additional imaging tests, such as an X-ray of the foot. This will further evaluate if the space between the bones is narrow, which can indicate the lost cartilage. In addition, the X-ray may display a bone spur, which is a sign of arthritis too. For certain situations, doctors may utilize an MRI or CT scan to determine the state of the bone and soft tissues in the foot. For rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor may order a blood test for an accurate diagnosis.
In any situation, it is challenging to anticipate the progression of all foot and ankle deformities and their associated arthritis. Initial treatment often includes weight loss and activity modifications. However, if initial treatment is unsuccessful, over-the-counter oral pain medications and possible corticosteroid injections may be recommended. When conservative treatment fails, the physician may recommend surgical treatment. This may include possible joint decompression, joint replacement, or joint total fusion. Surgical treatment is decided based on patient symptoms, physical exam, and radiographic analysis.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we provide the best treatment for a variety of foot conditions, including the different types of foot arthritis. Our highly qualified team of podiatrists serves our patients at our conveniently located office in Huntington, NY. With the right treatment, you can get back to a life without arthritic foot pain. Receive the medical help and guidance you deserve by contacting us today to make an appointment.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment