Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is the most common chronic disease of the joints. Any joint can be affected, but with 26 bones and more than 30 joints, the feet are especially susceptible.
In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. Osteoarthritis causes a breakdown in the cartilage, a soft tissue that covers the end of each bone and allows them to glide smoothly in the joint. Pain, stiffness and swelling can result. Other symptoms of osteoarthritis in the feet and ankles can include tenderness or pain and reduced ability to bear weight, move, or walk.
There are 26 bones and more than 30 joints in each of your feet. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints of the foot that involve the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone; the joint of the big toe and foot bone; and the joint where the ankle and shinbone meet.
Living with Osteoarthritis
There is one element of your podiatric health and wellbeing that is more important than any other, and it’s one you can control: your choice of footwear. If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it’s time to get some sensible shoes for every day use. Put those pointy stilettos on a high shelf and save them for your next gala event. Have your feet professionally measured, as osteoarthritis can be a factor in age-related foot size changes. Select your new shoes carefully. Invest in a quality pair that will last. Choose comfortable, flexible shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel and rubber soles for additional comfort and stability.
After diagnosis, your foot doctor may approach treatment of your osteoarthritis in a variety of ways. While surgery may eventually become necessary in severe cases, you can schedule an exam and be confident that your podiatrist will try non-surgical methods first. Your initial treatment plan will be unique to your situation and may include over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve pain and inflammation, steroid injections, shoe inserts or custom orthotics, physical therapy; stretches or exercises, and physical therapy.
Has standing or walking become painful? Osteoarthritis may be a factor. A visit to Advanced Feet and Ankle Care is the best way to find out what’s causing your discomfort. Jason Grossman, DPM will examine your feet and ankles with state of the art equipment, carefully diagnose the source of your pain, and work with you to create an effective treatment plan. Click here or call our friendly staff at (732) 679-4330 today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient Old Bridge or Sayreville offices.