Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis. Both can attack joints in your feet and ankles causing damage, inflammation and pain. There are many treatment options that can help relieve pain, prevent further spread of the arthritis, and improve quality of life.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis breaks down the protective cartilage that is found between bones that allow them to move smoothly against each other. As the cartilage gets worn, the joint starts to grind with movement, causing pain, inflammation, and bone spurring. Injury, improper alignment, and repetitive stress to the joint are the main causes of Osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints, causing inflammation and erosion of the cartilage. The damage caused from this disorder can be extremely debilitating and most commonly affects the feet, hands and spine. Although there is a lot of active research on the topic, the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown.
Diagnoses and Treatment
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis of the foot and ankle can be easily diagnosed by a Podiatrist through examination of the foot, X-ray imaging, and blood tests. In many cases, these types of arthritis may even cause deformity of the foot.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle typically involves, anti-inflammatories, custom orthotics, bracing and immobilizing the area, steroid injections or physical therapy. In advanced cases surgery might be required to decrease pain and improve function of the joint.
In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, treatment usually includes medication prescribed by a rheumatologist, but your Podiatrist can develop a treatment plan to help ease pain. Treatments may include custom orthotics to make footwear and movement more comfortable or steroid injections in the joint. There are also many different types of braces, splints and pads that may be of benefit. If the arthritis causes foot deformity, or pain is not subsiding then surgery may be required.