There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The two most common varieties are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the natural deterioration of your joints with age, and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which your body mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints.
No matter the type, arthritis often causes joint inflammation, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms can interfere with your ability to participate in everyday tasks, from taking a walk around the block to buttoning up your shirt.
But at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, our team of podiatrists specializes in treating arthritis to help you live a life with less pain. Arthritis often attacks large joints — like your hips and knees — but it can infiltrate smaller joints, too.
In fact, foot arthritis is a common problem, particularly among people over 60 years old. You have 28 bones and over 30 joints in each foot, and arthritic foot pain can severely impact your mobility and your quality of life.
How arthritis affects the feet
Arthritis can affect anyone, but it becomes increasingly common with age. That’s because joints break down over the years and the protective cartilage that keeps bones from rubbing together begins wearing away.
Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, is diagnosed when the cartilage in the joints deteriorates with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed if your immune system continuously attacks the linings of joints, including those in the feet.
Without cushioning, your bones grind against each other when you move. The surrounding tissue gets inflamed, causing pain and stiffness. The main joints in your feet that arthritis often attacks include the:
- Big toe joint
- Joint of ankle and shin bone
- Joints connecting heel and midfoot bones
Pain associated with foot arthritis can negatively affect your mobility. You might find yourself walking and standing less, and in turn, you lose strength and flexibility in your feet that makes the condition worse.
Symptoms of foot arthritis
The most common symptoms of foot arthritis are joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. You might feel pain, tenderness, or warmth if you touch the affected area. Severe arthritis can make bearing weight painful.
If you have osteoarthritis, pain may develop in one or both feet. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the condition generally affects the same joints in both feet, and not just one. Ankle arthritis may first trigger symptoms when you attempt walking on slopes or inclines.
Over time, foot and ankle arthritis can make walking and standing painful. Symptoms may be worse after long periods of rest or when you first wake up in the morning.
Finding relief from foot arthritis
With the right treatment, you can live an active, healthy life with foot arthritis. Our team at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey offers comprehensive arthritis care to help you get there.
We start with a physical exam and review your medical history at your initial consultation. We may obtain X-rays or perform other diagnostic tests to evaluate the extent of your condition, then recommend a personalized treatment plan.
Conservative treatments, such as medication and physical therapy, can make a big difference for many arthritis patients. You’ll learn gentle stretches and exercises to build strength to treat pain from the inside out.
Attending regular doctor’s appointments is important when you have arthritis. Our team is here to help you manage your condition and make adjustments to your treatment plan to keep your discomfort at a minimum.
Don’t let arthritis stop you from enjoying your life. Find professional, personalized arthritis care at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey. Call our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, or request a consultation online today.