May is National Arthritis Awareness Month and here at Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle we want our patients to be informed about this disease that affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children and which can have seriously debilitating effects on your feet.
The first misconception about arthritis is that is one disease. Arthritis is a term that actually refers to joint pain and disease. In reality, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and joint-related disorders.
The most common symptom of arthritis is joint pain, swelling and stiffness. These can eventually lead to a limited range of motion in the part of the foot that has arthritic symptoms. Sometimes there will be skin changes such as redness or a rash in the affected area. Symptoms may be constant or come and go. Eventually, arthritis can result in permanent changes in the joints that are visible such as enlarged or bent joints.
Two Categories of Arthritis
Although there are many different types of arthritis, the two main categories are degenerative and inflammatory.
Osteoarthritis—also known as “wear and tear” arthritis is degenerative and the most common type of arthritis. It occurs as we age and the cartilage between bones begins to break down. Although heredity and previous injuries can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, you can help lessen the impact of this joint disease by maintaining a healthy weight which will decrease the pressure put on the joints of the feet.
Rheumatoid—this form of arthritis is actually part of a chronic disorder of the immune system. Like other autoimmune diseases, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints with inflammation, causing significant pain, swelling and loss of mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis also affects other systems in the body in addition to your joints.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing any type of joint pain, make an appointment at either our Edmond or Norman office and get it evaluated by our board certified podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh. The foot doctor will take a detailed medical history and listen carefully to what you have to say about your symptoms. In addition to physically examining the site of the pain, imaging studies may be ordered as well as other laboratory tests.
Once diagnosed and the cause of the arthritis pinpointed, the podiatrist has a number of treatment options available, including: anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, orthotics and surgery. If you are in pain, don’t delay contacting our Edmond or Norman office. The earlier arthritis is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.