How to Deal with Osteoarthritis – Foot and Ankle

Many people experience foot and ankle pain as the result of a sports injury or because they are wearing shoes that can be damaging to their feet.  However, for some people, foot and ankle pain is simply a result of the ageing process and health conditions.  Osteoarthritis is a common cause of foot and ankle pain.  Read on to learn more about osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease that commonly sets in as a person ages.  It involves the wearing down of cartilage in the body’s joints.  Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that is located at the joints at the end of the bones.  It acts as a sort of cushion between bones when they move.  Without cartilage, your bones would rub directly against each other when you walk, run, or move.  When osteoarthritis sets in, that cartilage begins to wear away, and your body loses some of the padding that it used to have between bones.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and is sometimes known as degenerative arthritis or, simply, arthritis.  It often accompanies the process of ageing.  Osteoarthritis can affect many different joints throughout the body, including the feet and ankles.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Most of the time, osteoarthritis is caused by the natural process of ageing.  As we get older, our daily activities put some wear and tear on our bones and joints.  The stress of using our bodies makes the cartilage wear down; it gets thinner and starts to deteriorate.  Eventually, the bones can begin to rub together.  This process causes pain and inflammation in the joints.

Injuries can cause osteoarthritis to develop, as well.  When osteoarthritis is caused by an injury, the osteoarthritis doesn’t set in immediately.  For example, you might injure your foot, and months or years later, begin to experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The shape of the foot can also lead to the development of osteoarthritis.  If you have flat feet or high arches, it can cause extra strain on your feet.  This strain can develop into osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

There are a few symptoms that are common to people with osteoarthritis.  A person typically experiences joint pain, joint stiffness, swelling of the joint, and difficulty bending the joint.  In some cases, bone spurs may develop on the affected joint, which can further inhibit movement of the joint.

Coping with Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle

People tend to assume that osteoarthritis is a natural part of ageing and that there is nothing that can be done about it.  Fortunately, that is not true.  There are several things that you can do to cope with osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle so that you can retain your mobility and manage pain.

If you have (or think you might have) osteoarthritis of the foot or ankle, you should see your doctor.  He/She can diagnose you and make recommendations as to the proper course of treatment, which could include anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, or physical therapy.

Many people who have osteoarthritis of the foot or ankle find relief through the use of orthotic devices.  Orthotic devices are customized inserts that are worn inside your shoes.  They gave your feet extra support exactly where you need it.  If you have osteoarthritis or bone spurs in your feet, orthotic devices can make it much more comfortable to spend time on your feet.

Don’t let osteoarthritis limit you.  Visit a Foot Solutions store in your area to learn more about how customized inserts can keep you mobile and give you the support that you need.