Arthritis is a disease that affects the bones and cartilage of the body. In the foot arthritis occurs over time and affects the joints resulting in pain from inflammation. There are several types of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the tissue and organs of the body. This disorder involves inflammation of the capsules surrounding the joints of the feet and ankles as well as destruction of articular cartilage of all the affected joints. If not treated, it could result in fusion of the effected joints. Even though rheumatoid arthritis impacts the entire foot and ankle, the affects of it can easily be seen specifically in the contraction of the toes. The erosion and destruction of the joint surfaces will reduce the range of movement leading to deformities of the feet and ankles.
Osteoarthritis is a destructive joint disease which destroys articular cartilage and bone. Osteoarthritis is the most common of all arthritic conditions. Destruction of the articular cartilage and bone leads to many deformities with the most common being hammer toes and bunions. As the cartilage is decreased the bone is exposed and damaged. The symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and fusion of joints. The treatments available are medications, exercises, injections, physical therapy, occupational therapy, inserts, custom orthotics and surgery.
Psoriatic arthritis is also an inflammatory disorder but also involves the skin and nails. Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis causes pain, sausage-like swelling, and stiffness in the joints.
Gout is a reoccurring acute inflammatory disorder which produces symptoms of redness, tenderness, heat, and swelling of the affected areas. Even though all areas of the body are affected, the great toe is the most commonly affected in 50% of the cases. Gout is usually caused by elevated uric acid levels in the blood. The high level of uric acid is due to either an over production or an under excretion of uric acid.
Blood work and x-rays are utilized to determine and evaluate arthritic changes. Treatment of gout involves medications, lifestyle changes in diet, injections, physical therapy, occupational therapy, inserts, and custom orthotics, and surgical intervention.