Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can affect any joint in the body. There are many forms of arthritis and the more common forms include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is common in older people and results from general wear and tear of the joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body ‘attacks itself’ causing the joints to break down.
Arthritis can lead to pain and stiffness of the joints and in severe cases can prevent participation in daily activities or even impact on walking.
Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Pain and swelling of the joints
- Presence of redness or inflammation around the joints
- Tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint
- Increased pain and stiffness in the morning or after long periods of rest
- Difficulty walking due to the symptoms listed above
Currently there is no cure for arthritis however there are many treatment options available to slow the progression of the disease and to minimize the pain and discomfort allowing individuals to continue on with their daily lives.
Treatment for arthritis in the foot and lower limb can include:
- Weight loss to minimize stress placed on the joints
- Modification of activities to lower impact activities such as cycling or swimming
- Supportive and correctly fitting footwear
Your Podiatrist will carefully assess the severity of the condition and can recommend appropriate footwear. This can allow problem joints more room, reducing the risk of other injuries such as blisters, corns and callouses that can be caused by shoes rubbing on swollen areas.
Orthotics can also be specially made to provide your feet with extra support and to give you more stability, making it easier to get around. There are also exercises you can do to help keep the joint moving, which will help relieve the stiffness and pain you may be experiencing. These treatments can greatly improve the quality of life, general comfort and mobility for a patient suffering with arthritis.