As one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, arthritis affects millions of individuals and can occur at virtually any age. Foot arthritis can be especially painful and severely limit an individual’s ability to get around. Even though there is no cure for foot arthritis, there are a variety of different treatment options that a person can take advantage of. By taking a proactive approach to managing foot arthritis, an individual can still live an active and fulfilling life without having to resort to surgery. Exercise, medications and even alternative forms of treatment like acupuncture can all make a huge difference when it comes to foot arthritis.
There are three basic types of Foot Arthritis that an individual may suffer from. There is osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and posttraumatic arthritis. Perhaps the most problematic of all different types of foot arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative form of arthritis and is most common in individuals who are older in age. Put simply, this type of foot arthritis results from normal wear and tear on the joints as the cartilage becomes worn and the bones come in closer contact resulting in pain, swelling and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of foot arthritis that has a more predictable pattern. This type of foot arthritis may also affect other joints and is an inflammatory disease were a person’s immune system actually attacks and destroys the cartilage in their joints. Finally, posttraumatic arthritis occurs after a person suffers an injury to their foot or ankle. This type of foot arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis and may not flare up until years after the initial injury. Even something as minor as a sprain can lead to foot arthritis years down the road.
Diagnosing Foot Arthritis will require a doctor to perform a physical examination and ask a few questions in addition to performing some simple tests like x-rays or blood tests. A physician will try to pinpoint the cause of the foot arthritis and treat the underlying issue, if possible. A person with foot arthritis may need to take anti-inflammatory medications to manage the swelling, use special orthotic shoe inserts, wear a brace and take part in regular exercise and physical therapy. A physician may also recommend that a person suffering from foot arthritis take nutritional supplements and attempt to lose weight. There are surgical options available to a person with foot arthritis, but they are generally not recommended unless absolutely necessary.