Recognizing and Treating Joint Disorders
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. At NY Foot Health we want patients to be informed about joint disease. With 33 joints in your feet, having joint trouble can lead to severe impairment of your ability to walk, stand and do most everyday tasks.
What is Arthritis?
Most patients think arthritis is something that happens when you get old that makes your joints stiff and creaky. Actually, arthritis is a term used to cover over 100 different joint problems. Osteoarthritis (the wear and tear kind most people are familiar with), rheumatoid arthritis, gout and psoriatic arthritis are just a few of the many types of joint disease.
Because there are many varieties of arthritis, there are many causes and reasons why symptoms may develop, including:
Injuries—particularly if they have been ignored
Bacterial and viral infections that affect the joints, such as Lyme disease, pneumonia and staph infections
Bowel disorders like colitis and ileitis
Drugs—both prescription medications and illegal street drugs
Congenital autoimmune diseases
Inflammation due to arthritic conditions can lead to permanent joint and bone damage if not treated promptly and cartilage destruction is not reversible. That’s why it’s essential that you contact your podiatrist as soon as you notice any signs of joint disease. If you need help locating a podiatrist in your area, use our online directory. Some symptoms that indicate you need to see a foot doctor include:
Pain or tenderness in any foot or ankle joint
Heat or redness around the joint
Limited range of motion in a joint
Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning
Rashes, growths or other changes in the skin of your feet
Once the foot doctor diagnoses your joint condition, an appropriate treatment plan can be devised. Treatment of arthritic conditions is aimed at slowing the progression of the disease, reducing pain and increasing function of the affected joints. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.
To learn more about arthritis and your feet, contact us.