San Francisco Podiatrist - Arthritis

The foot has 33 joints, any of which can be affected by the chronic inflammation and swelling of arthritis. Susceptibility to arthritis in the feet increases with age and can be hereditary. This ailment is often an element of a more complex disorder or incident. A few conditions precluding arthritic symptoms include sports or work injuries, infections in the joints, bowel issues such as colitis or ileitis, drug abuse and autoimmune disorders. A doctor should be consulted if these chronic symptoms occur: joint pain, swelling, redness or heat around the joint, skin changes or limited range of motion. The most common arthritic condition is osteoarthritis, usually a gradual onset of cartilage deterioration, accompanied by throbbing pain and aggravated by weight gain. Rheumatoid arthritis is more serious, and often more crippling. It is an inflammatory disease which causes stiffness and fatigue, and can adversely affect many other body systems including the lungs, heart, eyes and nerves. RA sufferers often experience alternating spells of remission and exacerbation. Women are four times more likely to develop RA. Gout is a third arthritic disease, caused by the buildup of uric acid salts. Gout is particularly painful, often focused in a single toe joint and more common in men.

Early diagnosis of arthritis is vital because damage from these disorders is largely irreversible. Treatments involve control of inflammation, physical therapy to preserve and improve joint function, medication, bracing foot gear and, rarely, surgery.