By Family Foot & Ankle Care, PC
March 06, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Osteoarthritis  

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, chances are pretty good that you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, one of the most common types. TheOsteoarthritis CDC predicts that osteoarthritis affects approximately 30 million American adults. Whether you are dealing with osteoarthritis yourself or you know someone who is, here are answers to some of your most popular questions regarding this chronic condition.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that results from wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints. While this can affect any area of the body, osteoarthritis is more likely to appear in the hips, knees, fingers, lower back and toes. Cartilage covers bones and helps make joint movement easier while also providing support and cushioning for the bones. Of course, if you have osteoarthritis then the cartilage covering your bones may start to deteriorate, which can cause bones to rub together if the deterioration becomes bad enough.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Most people with osteoarthritis will start to notice some pain and swelling in the very beginning stages. You may find that certain joints become stiff and sore, or that you don’t have as much range of motion or flexibility as you once had. In more advanced stages, osteoarthritis can cause impaired movement and even disability.

What are the risk factors associated with osteoarthritis?

There are many factors that could increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis, including:

  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis
  • Age: You are more at risk for osteoarthritis as you get older
  • Overuse: You perform the same repetitive movements regularly or you put too much stress on certain joints
  • Overweight: Being overweight or obese puts too much stress and pressure on joints
  • Heredity: If you have a family history of osteoarthritis then you may be more likely to develop it yourself

How is osteoarthritis treated?

There are many lifestyle modifications that can improve your symptoms if you do have osteoarthritis, including:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly (and incorporate strength training exercises)
  • Pain medications and anti-inflammatories
  • Prescription medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching
  • Assistive devices (e.g. cane)
  • Corticosteroid injections (to target pain and swelling)
  • Surgery (if all other treatment options haven’t provided relief)

If you are concerned about how osteoarthritis is affecting your feet and you aren’t finding relief through more conservative measures, then it’s time to turn to your podiatrist for proper care.