“Oh, my aching bones” is a familiar refrain among the elderly. But it’s not exactly their bones that ache - it’s their joints. Joints are those places where one bone connects to another, and the older you get, the more you’re likely to suffer damage to the soft tissue within your joints. That damage is called osteoarthritis. Arthritis often strikes our hips and our knees. But it’s pretty common in the feet and ankles as well.
Risk factors for getting arthritis
Age isn’t the only factor. Others who are at risk for succumbing to the effects of osteoarthritis are
· the obese
· anyone with previous trauma to a joint
· those with an abnormal joint mechanism - that is, the joint wasn’t working quite right in the first place, accelerating the rate of wear and tear on the protective cartilage between bones
· someone whose job calls for heavy lifting or lots of bending.
What does arthritis of the feet or ankles look like?
When arthritis hits the feet, it’s often in the big toe’s MTP joint - that’s the joint at the base of your big toe. The same joint in your four other toes is also susceptible, as are all of the joints in your ankle. With osteoarthritis, joints can become enlarged or wobbly. Their range of motion suffers.
Foot or ankle arthritis will induce pain that worsens after activity but gets better with rest. Stiffness will strike after you’re inactive for some time and then get up to walk again. Joints will be quite stiff in the morning, but loosen up after several minutes.
You’ve got lots of options
If you live in Monmouth County, New Jersey and have this kind of stiffness or pain in your toes, foot, or ankle, make an appointment for an evaluation at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center in Howell. Conservative treatments are numerous and include
· physical therapy and occupational therapy to restore range of motion and improve muscle strength around the affected joint
· topical or oral pain relievers
· steroid injections
· footwear that can make you more comfortable.
If conservative treatments aren’t enough, discuss the possibility of foot or ankle surgery with one of our board-certified podiatrists, Samantha Boyd, DPM; Hal Ornstein, DPM; Joseph Saka, DPM; and Katy Statler, DPM. Minor surgery can be completed in our office. More involved surgeries such as total ankle replacement or joint reconstruction are done in the hospital.
Call us at (732) 905-1110 or visit us online to explore all your options for reducing or eliminating the discomfort of foot and ankle arthritis.