Arthritic diseases affect the lining of your joints, causing inflammation and pain as bones start to rub against each other directly with little or no cushioning. Arthritic conditions often first occur in the extremities, with the hands and feet being among the first areas of the body to be affected. Getting treatment early for arthritis can help prevent joint damage and pain, so see your foot doctor at the first signs of pain and stiffness.
2 common types of arthritis that affect the feet and ankles are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis— This insidious type of arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakes the lining that cushions your joints for a foreign substance. Early treatment can help prevent chronic damage, and using correctly fitted footwear with custom orthotics can relieve pain and increase balance and stability. Applying ice to the affected joints and taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs will help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Osteoarthritis—This kind of arthritis occurs from pressure and wear and tear over time that causes the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joints. As this protective layer deteriorates, bones rub directly against each other, causing swelling, stiffness, and severe pain. You can help relieve some of this stress by reducing your weight if you are obese. A variety of physical therapy exercises help maintain some flexibility in the joints.
Other causes of stiffness in the toes and ankles include gout and nerve damage, so be sure to see your foot doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment. Call Syracuse Podiatry located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, and Dr. Donal M. Erickson, and their staff will help you diagnose and treat your foot or ankle condition. Call 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online today.