What is it?
Arthritis is a general term for a variety of conditions that cause inflammation and degeneration of the cartilage and lining of the joints. Arthritis can occur in any joint and is common in the feet and ankles. Arthritis is often considered a disease of the aging but can occur at any age.
Types and Causes:
Osteoarthritis results in a deterioration of the cartilage in the joint. This type of arthritis is mechanical. Foot joints affected typically include the first metatarsophalangeal joint and midfoot joints. Sometimes the ankle can also be involved. Symptoms are localized to the affected joint and include pain and stiffness with activity that is relieved by rest. Joint swelling and enlargement are also noted.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most severe form of joint deterioration affecting people of all ages. This type is inflammatory whereby the destruction occurs from inside the joint outward. It can lead to conditions such as bunions, hammer toes, claw toes and painful nodules on the bottom of the foot.
Gouty Arthritis (Gout) is a condition caused by deposits of sodium uric crystals in the joints due to a problem with metabolism. Unexcreted uric acid can pool in blood and tissues and cause needle-like uric acid crystals to accumulate around the small joints. Rub the balls of your feet and the base of your toes really hard. Do you feel graininess? This is uric acid crystal build up. Typically it involves the big toe; but other joints like ankle, knee, wrist, elbow and fingers may be affected. Men are most susceptible to gout.
Psoriatic Arthritis often causes people to experience a type of inflammatory joint disease along with the skin disorder psoriasis. The psoriasis condition involves discomfort and progressive disfigurement. The arthritis element involves joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. It usually strikes one side of the body, involves the most distal joints of the fingers and toes, and affects both genders equally.
How can we help?
- Perform biomechanical gait assessment
- Educate patients about appropriate footwear selection regarding fit, function and support.
- Modify footwear to appropriately control joint movement and accommodate deformities.
- Fabricate custom made orthotics to relieve pressure and restrict or facilitate motion as required.
- Recommend foot exercises once accessed by our podiatrist.