Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Arthritis of the Foot - Symptoms and Treatment

One of the leading causes of disability in the United States is arthritis. The condition can occur at any age and anywhere in the body. The name, 'arthritis,' literally means 'pain within a joint' and is used to describe a number of conditions that affect the joint.
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are a number of treatment options available. Treatment goals are designed to manage pain, keep the affected individual active and provide overall relief.
There are three different types of arthritis that affect the foot:
1. Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the foot is also known as a degenerative condition that is more common in people after they reach middle age. The condition is caused from overall 'wear and tear' that results in inflammation, swelling and pain around the joint. The problem can make it painful to walk and in some cases debilitating. Osteoarthritis progresses gradually, and the symptoms
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is different than osteoarthritis in that is a system wide disease that does not follow a predictable pattern in certain joints like osteoarthritis does. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks itself and destroys the cartilage. The exact cause of this condition is unknown.
3. Post-Traumatic Arthritis
Foot trauma, specifically foot fractures, may lead to arthritis developing in the affected joint. An injured joint is about seven more times likely to become arthritic over time, if the area is not properly treated.
Symptoms of Arthritis in the Foot
The signs and symptoms of arthritis in the foot vary, depending on which foot joint is affected. Common symptoms may include:
· Pain and tenderness
· Stiffness or reduced range of motion in the foot
· Swelling in affected joint and surrounding areas
· Difficulty walking due to any of the above symptoms
Treatment for Arthritis of the Foot
The treatment plan for foot arthritis depends on the type, location and severity of the condition. There are wide ranges of treatment types available.
Nonsurgical treatment involves:
· Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
· Custom-made shoes with a rocker bottom
· Shoe inserts, or orthotics
· Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises
· Steroid injections into the joint to relieve pain and inflammation
Surgical treatment is available if the arthritis does not respond to nonsurgical treatment. The choice will depend on the type of the arthritis and where it is located. Surgery that is performed on the foot include:
· Arthroscopic debridement
· Arthrodesis (fusion of the joints)
· Arthroplasty (replacement of the affected joint).

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