Arthritis is a general term that can reference more than 100 different diseases. The main symptom is pain and inflammation, which generally presents outwardly as stiffness and swelling in one or more joints throughout the body. This can be an acute or a chronic issue, and can also lead to degenerative damage and progressive joint deterioration. The cartilage that is lost to arthritis removes the cushioning in the joints, and that means the bones wear against one another. Here’s what you need to know about arthritis in the feet.
Most Common Types of Arthritis in the Feet
There are several types of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankles. If you’re experiencing symptoms that seem as though they could be arthritis, you’re not alone. But you want to make sure you’re getting the right treatment and the proper diagnosis. Whether you have symptoms that indicate top-of-foot arthritis or other areas, it’s important to find out the real root cause of your pain. You can get your arthritis pain treated more successfully if you know exactly what type of arthritis you’re dealing with.
Types of arthritis that can occur in the foot are:
- Osteoarthritis – This comes from wear and tear on the joints of the feet and ankle, and can contribute to many arthritis in foot and ankle symptoms. Weight-bearing joints like the ankle are most commonly affected.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This is caused by an autoimmune disorder, and generally affects small joints. It can also harm other areas of the body. Generally, both feet are affected.
- Gout – Uric acid accumulation is the main cause of gout, which is a more complex form of arthritis. Severe pain is a big part of this condition, which typically affects the big toe.
- Psoriatic arthritis – This affects the toes, and causes inflammation in the ligaments and tendons. It causes the toes to swell like sausages, leading to a lot of discomfort.
No matter the type of arthritis that’s affecting your feet, there are treatment options available. The first step is to diagnose the type of arthritis symptoms you’re experiencing in your foot, and find the cause. Then, treatment can begin. The kinds of symptoms you’re having may give some important clues about the type of arthritis you’re experiencing.
Early Signs of Arthritis in the Feet
Arthritis in foot symptoms can start suddenly, or develop very gradually. Either way, they should be discovered early and treated accordingly. Here are seven main symptoms that could indicate arthritis in the feet.
- Joint Stiffness – Stiff joints are one of the earliest signs of arthritis in the feet. The stiffness may be vague and not overly troublesome, but could get worse over time. The range of motion will be decreased, and stiffness is likely worse in the morning.
- Joint Pain – For a lot of people, arthritis causes pain in the affected joints and goes hand in hand with joint stiffness. These two symptoms are often the first indications of a problem, and may get worse when there’s an increase in activity. Pain may come and go throughout the day, though, but most of the time it is worse in the morning.
- Joint Swelling – Stress and damage to the joint can cause it to become inflamed. When that happens, the joint can swell to the point that it’s outwardly noticeable.
- Joint Deformity – Over time, the cartilage that’s located in the joints may erode, and that can happen in patches. Muscles and ligaments around the joint also weaken, which leads to misshapen joints and deformities.
- Joint Warmth – When joints get inflamed, redness and warmth are often byproducts of that inflammation. If your joints frequently feel warm, and you have other symptoms, arthritis may be the cause.
- Mucous-Based Cysts – Cysts are fluid-filled sacs, and they cause bumps, dents, and ridges around the affected joints. They often appear under the toenails or at the ends of the toes, but they can also appear in other areas. If you have cysts along with other symptoms, you may want to consult a doctor.
- Bone Spurs – Worsening joint damage can cause extra bone to grow at the joints, which can lead to bone spurs. They’ll appear as growths, and can cause problems with the function of the joints, along with pain.
While not all of these issues may be present at the same time or in the same joint, one or more of these symptoms of arthritis in your feet can be cause for concern. There may not be a cure for arthritis, and treatment varies depending on the type, but there are options to reduce discomfort and slow joint damage, in the majority of cases.
If you think you may have arthritis in your feet or ankles, don’t let the pain get worse. Come in and see us. Visit our contact page to make a quick appointment, or give us a call today at 239-936-5400. We’re here to help treat your foot pain and get you back to feeling healthy and strong.
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