Arthritis is a chronic illness that affects over 100 different types of joints in the human body. It’s estimated that approximately 1 in every 4 Americans are affected by arthritis, which emphasizes the importance of understanding its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
The Effects of Arthritis on Feet
The feet contain 33 joints, and depending on the type of arthritis, they can be especially impacted, causing joint deterioration and severe pain. Therefore, patients suffering from arthritis should be seen by a medical professional who is experienced in treating foot-related issues, such as Dr Gilbert Huang DPM.
Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis occurring in the United States, which may result from aging or injury affecting the knees, hips, or fingers. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis, which is the chronic inflammatory disease, occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells. Ankylosing spondylitis is the arthritis of the spine, leading to swelling and pain in the joints of the spine. Meanwhile, gout, which results from an excess buildup of uric acid, leads to the formation of crystals in the joints, mainly occurring in the big toe. Furthermore, juvenile arthritis can impact children, whereas psoriatic arthritis occurs in conjunction with psoriasis, a skin illness characterized by red, inflamed, flaky patches. Patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis may also experience ‘sausage-like’ appendages, known as dactylitis.
Causes of Arthritis
Aging, genes, viral or bacterial infections, smoking, and work environments that require bending predispose us to osteoarthritis. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while men are at a higher risk of gout.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Patients suffering from arthritis may experience joint swelling, pain, stiffness, redness, heat, soreness, muscle weakness, fever, rashes, itchiness, and weight loss. It’s crucial to seek medical attention if any of these symptoms persist for an extended period.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis
Although the symptoms of arthritis are common to other illnesses, an accurate diagnosis requires a complete health history review, physical examination, and imaging and lab tests, including X-rays, MRIs, and arthrocentesis, which evaluates joint fluid content. Arthritis can be categorized into inflammatory (such as rheumatoid arthritis), degenerative (such as osteoarthritis), metabolic (such as gout), and infectious (as in the case of patients with Lyme disease). The best course of treatment depends on the type and severity of symptoms as well as the patient’s lifestyle and environment, and can include the use of custom-fitted orthotics or braces prescribed by a podiatrist, medication, physical therapy, or homeopathy or herbal supplements to control uric acid levels. To ensure effective management of arthritis, it’s essential to receive prompt care using safe, effective medical techniques.
Arthritis is a chronic illness that may have severe consequences on our daily lives. Seeking medical assistance from qualified professionals like Dr Gilbert Huang DPM and following a prescribed and effective treatment plan can increase our overall wellness and quality of life. It’s critical to have regular self-checks and seek professional help if experiencing any symptoms that might indicate arthritis.