At Great Neck Family Foot Care, many patients tell us that the cold and damp days of winter make their arthritis worse. Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. Your feet each have over 30 joints—making them a prime target for this disorder. Arthritis usually comes on gradually with symptoms that include:
- Joint pain that is usually made worse by physical activity
- Swelling in the joint
- Redness and warmth at the joint site
- Increased swelling, pain and stiffness in the joint in the morning when you first get up or after sitting for a long period of time
Different Kinds of Arthritis
There are 3 major kinds of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis—more commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, this is the most common kind and it occurs over time as the cartilage and joints wear out. People 50 and over are most at risk but it can affect younger people as well.
Rheumatoid Arthritis—this more serious form of arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks the linings of the joints causing painful swelling which can lead to deformity and disability.
Posttraumatic arthritis—this type of arthritis is more similar in symptoms to osteoarthritis and it develops in joints that have been damaged by a previous injury, such as a fracture or dislocation. A joint that has been injured is 7 times more likely to develop arthritis, although it may not happen for several years.
Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Alec Hochstein, will do a complete examination of your feet to determine if it is arthritis that is causing your discomfort. A medical history, gait analysis, imaging studies and laboratory tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and determine how far the arthritis has progressed. There is no cure for arthritis but there are ways to slow its progress and to relieve pain and inflammation. These include:
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections to relieve pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy to strengthen supporting muscles in your foot and ankle and to increase joint mobility and flexibility
- Orthotics and padding can shift pressure away from painful joints and improve positioning of the foot or ankle if a deformity is present
- Surgical procedures can be performed in extreme cases when none of the above methods are bringing relief
Like so many foot disorders, the earlier arthritis treatment begins the better the outcome. If you are noticing signs of arthritis for the first time or know you have arthritis and believe it is getting worse, contact our Great Neck office for an appointment today to find out how to get relief. If your symptoms or those of someone in your home are so severe that you cannot get to the office, we’ll come to you. Schedule a home visit through our office.