The term arthritis is loosely used to refer to many different types of crippling pain associated with the joints. Many people do not know what arthritis is, what affect it actually has on the body, what type they even have or how to minimise the pain affecting daily activities.
There are very important large and small joints in the lower limb and feet. Considering our legs and feet are what take the complete load of our body weight and not to mention all the extra forces that come with work, sports and exercise, they can be prone to degeneration and erosion as time goes on.
The main types of arthritis contributing to chronic pain in the feet and legs include:
Osteoarthritis is considered a mechanical degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to excessive “wear and tear” on the joints as a result of repetitive and or increased forces.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but most commonly treated by Podiatrists are the knees, ankles and big toe joints. The big toe joint may have lost some or all of it range of motion, which is detrimental to the gait cycle and can cause many other issues, even with the back. It is important to address stiffness and lack of range of motion in any joint with the appropriate treatment to slow down the process of degeneration and its sequential negative impacts elsewhere.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and, or Psoriatic Arthritis is an inflammatory, auto immune, systemic disease that can affect many organs. It is more common in woman and usually comes on in your late thirties or early forties. Signs might be more evident when you are more stressed and your immune system is not coping.
Many parts of the body can be affected including the skin, nails, vascular (circulation) and joints.
Pitted or thickened toe nails, mild or severe joint deformity such a bunions, nodules on the feet such as the toes and or heels and joint swelling are all symptoms affecting the legs and feet that can be addressed by a Podiatrist.
Gout, otherwise known as ‘the rich mans disease’ due to its association with high levels of Uric acid in the blood is achieved by a heavy diet rich in purine, e.g. red meat, fruit and alcohol etc.
Gout can increase pressure and friction to the feet, causing secondary issues such as corns, callus and lesions. Gout can cause severe pain accompanied by red, hot, swollen joints.
Knowing which type of arthritis you have is crucial to being able to treat it effectively and appropriately.
Not only can Podiatrists help identify issues resulting from your arthritis they can correctly treat it to reduce or eliminate discomfort, slow down the progression of the disease and help you get back to enjoying daily life.
After a thorough physical examination involving a skin, nail and biomechanical assessment,
And much more....
Due to arthritis being a widespread condition affecting many parts of the body it is important that a multidisciplinary approach is employed. Your Podiatrist can always point you in the right direction to addressing other issues with the additional health professional you may not have considered.
Podiatrists will leave you equipped with the right tools to take home in order to feel more confident and comfortable on your feet!
Written by Anneliese Ball
Anneliese is at Health Associates as a Podiatrist working Monday and fortnightly Saturday.
She holds both a Bachelor of Psychology and Podiatry.
As a podiatrist she combines her proficient knowledge of human mechanics and ability to connect and engage with her patients to deliver outstanding clinical outcomes and an exceptional customer experience.
Anneliese loves health and fitness and enjoys encouraging her patients to maximise their health.