As a person grows older, he or she may experience more pain and stiffness in their feet and ankles. This could be attributed to arthritis developing. People tend to ignore the pain until it becomes unbearable. If it isn’t treated in a timely manner, this can compromise a person’s quality of life where it is difficult to walk and do the normal things in daily life. With early treatment, arthritis can be managed so that a patient can continue to live life at the fullest.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that refers to the deterioration of the parts of the joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and results from the wearing down with use and is associated with increasing age. When the joint wears down, the area will become inflamed. It will be evident by the swelling, redness, and pain around the joint. Common places that people experience this is in the neck, back, shoulders, knees, and hands, but the feet and ankles can be affected as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of arthritis that occurs. It is caused by an irritation of the lining of the joint called the synovium. Rheumatoid arthritis will develop in the foot and ankle in people who has had the disease for 10 years or more.
Gout, ankylosing spondylitis,psoriatic arthritis andlupus are other kinds of arthritis.
Who Is At Risk?
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and this condition affects over 46 million adults in the U. S. Elderly people are more susceptible since aging plays a factor in osteoarthritis development. The fact that about 50% of the 60-70 year old age group has arthritis in their feet and ankles without symptoms should be noted. This age bracket will need to be evaluated so that arthritis is found early on before problems arise.
How Do You Treat It?
With the varying types of arthritis, one treatment does not help each one. There is a need to treat the different types by the cause of the arthritis, so proper diagnosis is essential. Proper treatment to the foot and ankle is imperative to prevent any deformity from arthritis.
After taking a complete medical history and physical examination, a patient will have x-rays and laboratory tests done to check to see what type of arthritis is found. A bone scan, CT scan, or MRI may also be used to evaluate the joints.
If it is confirmed that there is arthritis present, anti-inflammatory medications may be given. An injection of steroid, physical therapy, and/or orthotics (like have pads put in the shoes or custom-made braces) could also be part of the treatment for foot and ankle arthritis. If the arthritis is severe, surgery may be needed. This would entail having the joint cleaned or replacing the joint altogether. Rehabilitation would be needed after surgery, and a special shoe or cast may be worn for a while after the cast is removed.
It is important to see a pain management doctor right away if pain is experienced in the foot or ankle, hindering movement and walking. The earlier arthritis is treated, the better the outcome.