Posts for tag: arthritis
Arthritis is a joint condition that affects roughly 54 million American adults according to the Arthritis Foundation. It can show up in joints all around the body, including the feet and toes. When the joints of the feet are affected by inflammation, it affects a patient’s ability to move their toes, bend their feet up or down, and turn on a dime when participating in athletic activities. Learn the steps that you can take to care for arthritic feet and improve your overall foot health.
Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritic joint pain, which is usually caused by an inflammatory reaction, is most commonly felt in the big toe, ankle, and the middle part of the foot. There are many different types of arthritis conditions that could affect the feet, including psoriatic, reactive, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form—it is caused by the bones rubbing together, making the joints feel stiff and painful. Patients who are overweight are more likely to struggle with arthritic feet, as are seniors. Some people have had arthritis since childhood (juvenile arthritis or JA), making them more likely to develop foot deformities like bunions and struggle with swollen joints.
Though arthritis isn’t a curable condition, the symptoms can be eased with treatment so that you can continue to walk, jog, exercise, and work without debilitating pain. These are some of the ways your podiatrist may treat arthritis in the feet:
- An X-ray or other imaging test to examine the condition of the joints.
- Physical therapy exercises to make the joints more flexible.
- Orthotic device or shoe for better foot support.
- Joint injections (corticosteroids).
- NSAID drugs (anti-inflammatories).
- Surgery to remove inflamed tissue around the joints (Arthroscopic debridement) or fuse the bones (arthrodesis).
Caring for Your Feet
Seeing a foot doctor is an important part of caring for arthritic feet. But there are also some actions you can take at home to keep your feet and joints in good condition:
- Get rid of shoes that put too much pressure on your joints, like high heels or sneakers that don’t support the ankles.
- Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and massage your feet when relaxing.
- Commit to doing the toe and foot exercises suggested by your podiatrist.
Treating Arthritic Feet
Arthritic feet shouldn't prevent you from carrying on with normal life and physical activities. Get help from a podiatrist as soon as you start to experience symptoms and take extra steps to care for your feet.
Most of the surgery that our doctors perform here at Advanced Foot and Ankle care is considered elective, but that does not mean that we do not take it seriously. When we start discussing surgery as an option with our patients we like to go over our protocol for surgical patients and why we have these protocols in place. While our protocols can seem particular to some, there are many reasons for each.
One mandatory thing we require for each of our surgical patients is called PRP, or platelet rich plasma. This is process where a patient’s own blood is enriched with above average levels of platelets to promote healing. Since many of our surgeries requiring manipulating bone, we see anything that can help aid in the healing process as a must. PRP has been around for several decades and is still being studied for its possible applications. New research is showing it may help with arthritis. Since this procedure uses the patient’s own blood, it has little to no side effects. PRP is also a great base for physical therapy, which many of our surgical patients go on to do.
While we use PRP strictly for surgical patients, there are studies coming out that show in office PRP may be able to help with tendonitis. We are always interested in possible applications and processes that are non-invasive but allow for our patients to live better lives.
We all expect to have some aches and pains after a hard workout. But when do aches and pains become signs of a more serious problem? Do you ever have long lasting foot pain after a workout or spending a long time on your feet? If you answer yes to that question, you might have a more serious condition called metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia is caused when the muscles in the ball of your foot become irritated and inflamed. This can happen from high impact exercises like running or from standing for long periods of time. While those are the most common causes, metatarsalgia can also be cause from poor fitting shoes, excessive weight, or small fractures, called stress fractures, in the foot. People who have arthritis or are prone to gout are more likely to develop this condition.
Some people describe the pain and irritation as having a pebble in their shoe. While it often starts out as an irritating, uncomfortable pain, it can soon progress into unbearable pain leaving the person unable to walk. Metatarsalgia can also cause pain the legs and lower back due to the inflammation throwing off a person’s natural gait. If these symptoms sound like something you or someone you know have been going through, don’t hesitate to call our office and make an appointment. Something as simple as proper footwear can make your symptoms disappear and never come back. Call today for an appointment!
Lady Gaga has been in the news a lot recently, but not for the reasons that you might think. Instead of talking about her music, or her fashion sense, most news outlets have been reporting on the fact that Lady Gaga had to cancel some of her tour dates because of a condition known as “synovitis” affecting her hip. For this reason, this week I thought I’d write about synovitis to shed some light on this condition.
What is Synovitis?
Synovitis is a joint disorder that can occur in many joints other than the hip, including the shoulder, hand, wrist, knee, and especially the ankle and the joints in the foot. It is an inflammation of a special kind of tissue that lines these joints, called the synovial membrane. This membrane is very important because it produces a fluid that acts as a lubricant that helps the joint move. When the membrane is inflamed, the joint becomes swollen with this fluid, and is often very painful.
What causes it?
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of synovitis include joint swelling, warmth, redness, and pain, especially when moving the joint.
How is it treated?
Over the counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may work in some cases to relieve pain and swelling. For more severe cases either oral or injectable steroids may be indicated. Surgery is rarely necessary, and reserved only for persistent cases.
Unfortunately for Lady Gaga, it was reported that her problems were more severe than just synovitis. She recently underwent surgery to repair a soft tissue tear in one of the structures of her hip joint; with this type of surgery, she will most likely face a lengthy recovery period.
If you watch TV, chances are you’ve seen the commercial with the middle-aged gentleman carrying around a large vial partially filled with a green liquid. The advertisement is for a new medication designed for the treatment and prevention (prophylaxis) of gout. To my knowledge, Uloric is the first medication to be approved by the FDA for gout prophylaxis in approximately 30 years. This commercial has caused an increased awareness as well as a concern to many people who have had pain in their feet that they believe may be attributed to gout.
While this particular advertisement focuses on the big toe joint, which is the most common area, gout can occur nearly anywhere in the body. I have personally seen gout attack non-joint areas such as the web spaces just above the toes. Gout is precipitated by a high amount of uric acid in the blood that will leak out of the bloodstream and typically settle in a joint. Upon settling it becomes crystallized into condensed bunches called tophi.
Acutely this will cause the affected area to be swollen, hot, red, and painful. Many patients relate that anything that touches the area, even the rubbing of a sheet across the area will cause severe pain. Chronically, long after the acute pain is gone, the gouty tophi can erode the joint surface causing arthritic pain to the area.
This type of arthritis is on the rise – particularly among men. More than 8 million people have it, and the rates have doubled in the last 50 years. Gout is no respecter of persons. It can strike anyone including famous people and professional athletes. When he wasn't lopping off his wives' heads, King Henry VIII of England was coping with attacks of gout. David Wells, the left-handed pitcher who played for the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays has struggled with gout throughout his baseball career. Maurice Cheeks, coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, who played 15 seasons in the NBA with 4 All-Star appearances, was 46 when he started experiencing severe pain secondary to gout.
How is it treated? At Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Centers of Ohio we typically will treat an acute flare of gout with a cortisone injection to the area. This has been found to give the most relief the fastest. Other medications that help are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Indomethacin. Colchicine is another effective medication but is not prescribed as often as is commonly causes severe diarrhea. I will usually check the blood uric acid level. If it is elevated I will give the patient the option of taking a long-term medication such as Uloric or Allopurinol that will decrease the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Either one of these medications must be taken on a daily basis to help prevent future arthritis due to gout as well as the recurrence of a gout attack. If you feel that you may have gout or have had gout in the past and would like to discuss options for treatment, please feel free to make an appointment at any one of our 4 locations in Huber Heights, Troy, Piqua, or Sidney.