Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation within a joint, while rheumatism is a more general term that is used to describe aches and pains in or around the joints. The foot is a complex structure consisting of 26 bones, small joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, and that all work together. Problems in the feet and ankles are often, but not always, Associated with arthritis.
Signs & Symptoms of Arthritis:
There are recurring symptoms such as swollen ankles or toes, stiffness in the foot and pain during normal standing or walking. The foot may have a limited range of motion. The toes may have swollen joints that look bumpy. The foot may not be able to support the knee and leg causing walking imbalance, and strain to bones and joints. The signs and symptoms will depend on the type of arthritis. There are three types of arthritis commonly affecting the foot:
Osteoarthritis is the most common foot arthritis. It develops over time due to wear on the joints and ligaments that support the foot. Hallux rigidus may occur; this is a condition in which the big toe in the ball of the foot becomes very stiff and painful to move. Corns, calluses and ulcers can occur affecting any bone in the foot. If the ankle joint is affected, then a patient may suffer from pain from various tendons that may be affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the body. Its inflammatory effects impact of the entire body, including foot joints. Bunions are common. Corns, calluses, thick nails and ulcers can occur due to the occurrence of bunions.
Post-arthritic arthritis is due to a foot injury. Though the sprain or fracture may heal, the joint is damaged, and arthritis develops years later as a result of the injury.
Causes of Arthritis:
The most common causes of foot and lower body arthritis include:
Heredity plays a major role.
Traumatic injuries can lead to arthritis in the affected joint.
Repetitive action that puts stress on a particular joint; runners, walkers, dancers, and construction workers are all at risk.
Overweight due to the stress of added pounds, many overweight individuals also suffer from arthritis.
Early detection can help you prevent or delay most arthritic symptoms. Your Podiatrist may also be able to advice on the conservative treatment (non-surgical treatment) of the arthritic foot includes proper footwear, orthotics, foot supports.