The joints that connect the bones of your foot and ankle provide your body with the balance you need to stand, walk, run and perform other physical activities. Unfortunately, arthritis can impact any of the 33 joints in your foot and ankle, making it difficult to perform everyday activities.
Although there are many different types of arthritis that can cause stiffness or deformities in feet and ankles, there are three types of arthritis in particular that can have a negative impact on your ankle joints. These types include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects millions of people around the world. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions your bones and joints wears down over the natural course of time.
When the cartilage of your bones wears away, it causes friction between the bones. The more the bones rub together, the more damage it causes to your joints, which can cause stiffness, swelling and pain. In your feet particularly, it can also impact your ability to walk or even bear your own weight. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, knees, feet, hips and spine. Factors affecting foot care for osteoarthritis include weight, shoe choice, arch support and much more.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system, which usually protects the body from foreign bacteria and pathogens, attacks the body’s tissues and joints. Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may experience symptoms like joint swelling, fatigue, stiffness, flu-like symptoms and pain all over their body.
The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can damage cartilage and cause bone erosion and joint deformity over time as the bones in the joint rub together. Besides being painful, at this point joints might also be loose and difficult to move, a serious issue for mobility.
Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. However, unlike normal osteoarthritis which occurs gradually with old age, with post-traumatic arthritis the wear and tear that’s caused to the joint’s cartilage is the result of an injury to the joint.
Physical trauma of resulting in this type of arthritis typically occurs to the hip, knees and ankles, usually as the result of a fall. Further injury or stress to the affected area can also exacerbate the injury, which is prone to fluid accumulation as well as pain and swelling.
For instance, while you might not sprain your ankle after an injury, the initial and subsequent damage to the joint may cause you to suffer from inflammation and pain that gradually increases later on.
Looking for an ankle specialist?
If you’re suffering from foot or ankle pain, you’re not alone. In fact, up to 75% of Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another during their life.
The good news is that regardless of whether your foot and ankle issues are new or chronic, a foot and ankle specialist can help. That’s where Dynamic Foot and Ankle comes in. To learn about foot pain treatments or to schedule an appointment with a foot care specialist, contact Dynamic Foot and Ankle today.