Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in adults. When it affects your feet, the pain and stiffness limit your daily activities and degrade your overall quality of life. Dr. McElvin Pope in New York City and Long Island City encourages you to come into his office for treatment as soon as you begin to experience joint pain, as getting early care such as exercise plan, physical therapy, and orthotics helps keep you active and healthy. To learn more, call or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Arthritis is a general term that refers to joint inflammation. Your feet are susceptible to arthritis because each foot has more than 30 joints exposed to high pressure and movement.
The three types of arthritis that frequently develop in the feet and ankles are:
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a wear and tear problem that emerges over the years as your cartilage gradually degenerates. Cartilage is found at the end of the bones in your joints, where it allows smooth movement. When it wears away, the bones rub together, causing pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation when your immune system mistakenly attacks tissues surrounding the joint. Eventually, the inflammation erodes bones in the joint, causing deformities.
In about 12% of all cases, osteoarthritis develops after you suffer an injury such as a dislocation or fracture. In your foot, an injured joint is about seven times more likely to develop arthritis compared to feet that don’t suffer any injuries.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis all cause joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation, and these symptoms get progressively worse without aggressive treatment. Eventually, it’s hard to move or use the joint, which affects your ability to walk.
Even though joint pain and stiffness make it hard to stay active, exercise is one of the most critical elements in your treatment plan. When you follow the exercise plan or physical therapy recommended by Dr. Pope, the ongoing activities help you maintain normal movement and relieve pain.
Dr. Pope may prescribe customized orthotics or orthopedic shoes to support your foot and remove pressure from the arthritic joint. Specialized shoes and orthotics can significantly relieve your pain and keep you moving freely.
When pain persists, Dr. Pope may prescribe injections to reduce inflammation, or topical pain medications, which are especially helpful before exercise.
Specialized medications treat rheumatoid arthritis by targeting the immune system, stopping inflammation, and preventing the condition from progressing.
When your arthritis doesn’t improve with conservative treatments, Dr. Pope may recommend surgery to remove loose cartilage and inflamed tissues. In severe cases, a bone fusion to eliminate movement in the joint may be necessary to relieve your symptoms.
If you develop joint pain and stiffness in your feet or ankles, call or book an appointment online today.