What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term for inflammation and swelling of the joints and surrounding tissues, and has multiple causes. While arthritis can affect all age groups, the symptoms of pain, stiffness, and swelling typically worsen as we get older. The foot is most susceptible to arthritis because its 33 joints carry the pressure of our weight throughout our lives. Arthritic feet affect our mobility and independence, so talk to any of the five podiatrists at one of our medical practice’s six locations to learn how to slow the growth of arthritis and limit its debilitating effects.
Although the exact cause of arthritis is unknown, several factors increase your risk of having arthritis, including:
- Age – as we age, our risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, increases
- Gender – women are more likely than men to develop arthritis
- Weight – the greater the weight, the greater the stress placed on the weight-bearing joints of our feet
- Genetic factors – some types of arthritis run in families
- Lifestyle – work that places excessive stress on the joints in our feet, e.g. repetitive movements and heavy lifting
There are many types of arthritis, but the 3 most common are the following:
- Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and is due to wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage over the years.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can be serious and crippling. It first attacks the lining of the capsule that encloses each joint.
- Gout is a painful condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid (a normal byproduct of our diet) in the joints.
Different types of arthritis have different symptoms, but consult our podiatry practice if your feet have any of the following symptoms:
- Decreased range of motion
- Excessive warmth
Diagnosis and Treatment
Not all types of arthritis are preventable, and treatments vary. But early diagnosis and customized treatment can reduce your discomfort, increase joint mobility and strength, and improve the quality of your life. Advanced Foot Care Centers has six locations in our communities in Tennessee (Hixson and Chattanooga) and North Georgia (Ft. Oglethorpe and Dalton). Contact us by phone at 706-861-6200 or online appointment request to meet with one of our podiatrists to get help right away. Our goal is give you all the tools and treatment you need to live a pain-free and productive life.