In the United States alone, over 54 million people suffer from a type of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. For the 23% of Americans living with arthritis, learning how to manage and relieve the symptoms is of the upmost importance. While there’s currently no cure for arthritis, there are many effective treatments available to slow the progression of the condition, prevent joint damage and relieve pain. Here at Global Podiatry, we provide a range of treatments for patients suffering from arthritis in Chicago & Wheeling, IL.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that causes the surfaces of the joints to break down, resulting in painful inflammation in the joints. The condition becomes more common with older age as years of wear and tear begin to damage the cartilage that covers joint surfaces and helps joints move without pain or friction.
Arthritis also more common among athletes and among people who are overweight. Osteoarthritis is one of two major forms of arthritis; the second form is rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that develops when the immune system begins attacking and destroying the joint tissues. There are other less common forms of arthritis as well, all of which cause joint tissue destruction.
Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or posttraumatic arthritis, our skilled podiatrists can provide the advice and treatment services in Lincolnwood & Wheeling IL that you need to successfully manage pain.
The most common symptom of arthritis is any pain in the joints, especially when the joints are moved or when pressure is applied. Stiffness and a decreased range of motion also occur as the joint becomes less flexible. Without treatment, joints can become swollen and deformed, and they may feel warm to the touch.
The degree to which patients experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary. Some people will experience severe tenderness and pain, while the discomfort for others will be mild. In some cases, osteoarthritis can cause boney protrusions to develop, resulting in more pain and further decreasing joint movement.
Posttraumatic arthritis is another type of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankles. This type of arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that typically develops after an injury to a joint, such as an ankle fracture. Over time, the damage that the injury causes to the cartilage can result in accelerated wear. It’s possible for people to develop posttraumatic arthritis years after an injury.
Arthritis in the feet often affects the big toe joint. Sometimes, arthritis develops here as a result of normal wear and tear, and sometimes it occurs when the joint is damaged by another condition, like bunions. In addition to the big toe, the ankle joint and the joints between the bones of the midfoot region can also develop arthritis, resulting in pain and stiffness when walking and, in more advanced cases, even while resting.
When you visit Global Podiatry to have foot pain diagnosed in Chicago & Wheeling, IL, your podiatrist may begin with a discussion about your medical history and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You’ll be asked questions about your pain, such as when it started, when in the day the pain is worse and the location of the pain.
Afterwards, your podiatrist will carefully examine your foot, checking for pain and swelling and assessing your mobility. Your podiatrist may order additional tests, including imaging tests like an x-ray or CT scan to assess the severity of your condition, and blood tests, which can reveal more information about your type of arthritis.
An important aspect of the exam is gait analysis. During this analysis, your podiatrist will assess your gait, ankle strength, and the position of your bones as you walk. How you walk during the exam will tell your podiatrist a lot about the severity of your condition.
Foot and ankle arthritis is managed conservatively when possible using medication to decrease pain and swelling. Ice and heat therapy and gentle stretching may also help. When these conservative approaches don’t work, surgery may be necessary to remove bone spurs or to fuse the joints to prevent painful friction.
Before considering surgery, a podiatrist may also advise that osteoarthritis is treated with other conservative treatments, such as:
If surgery is required to treat arthritis, the primary goal of the treatment will be to alleviate pain and restore as much function as possible. In cases where the arthritis is so advanced that conservative treatment has proven unsuccessful or is not possible, surgery is often the only other option available. There are many different types of surgery to treat foot & ankle arthritis; some patients may require multiple surgical treatments to see significant improvement. The most common types of surgery, include:
Recovery after surgical treatment can take up to 9 months. In less severe cases, recovery can take as little as 4 months.