Walking Off The Pain—Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment Of Foot Arthritis

November 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Dear Readers …

Your regular author Gloria D. Gamat resides in the area where Super Typhoon Mina hit the Bicol Philippines region last night and may be without electricity for a short while. Our thoughts are with her and her family and we hope to see her back here as soon as practical! In the meantime, I will be filling in with a few articles here and there until Gloria returns. // HART (1-800-HART)

Arthritis can affect many different areas of the body—the hands, shoulders, legs, and even the feet. In fact, two of the most common joints affected by arthritis are the foot and ankle. This can be extremely painful, and it can take a great toll on the affected person’s ability to walk. However, by knowing the symptoms of foot arthritis, you can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan sooner rather than later.

Symptoms Of Foot Arthritis

There are several symptoms of foot arthritis, and many of them depend on which specific joint in the foot is affected. Some of the most common symptoms are:

* tenderness or pain in the area
* reduced motion or stiffness
* swelling of the foot joints
* also, it will most likely become difficult to move or walk.

Your Doctor’s Diagnosis

Once you begin experiencing symptoms of foot arthritis, you should consult your doctor for an official diagnosis. Your doctor will first review your medical history, and giving you a physical examination. During the exam, he or she will most likely ask you questions such as: “When did the pain start?” “Is it worse at night?” “Have you ever had an injury to your foot or ankle?” “Is the pain in one or both feet?” “Where is the pain centered?” These questions will help your doctor to make a diagnosis.

If this information does not help your doctor to make a diagnosis, than he or she might resort to one or more tests to help with this process. A gait analysis is a common test that shows the alignment of the bones in your foot and leg as you walk. It also measures your stride and the strength of your feet and ankles.

An additional diagnostic tool that might be used is an x-ray, which can show changes in the shape or spacing of bones. Other tools include: a bone scan, computed technology, scan, or magnetic resonance image (MRI).

Treating Foot Arthritis

Once you’ve been diagnosed, the next step is to treat the condition. Foot arthritis can be treated in both surgical and non-surgical ways. To reduce swelling, it is important to take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. You can also put an insert, such as an arch support or pad, inside your shoe. Other methods of treatment include: wearing a custom-made shoe, using an ankle-foot orthosis, using a cane, using a brace, or participating in a physical therapy program.

If all non-surgical options have been exhausted, then you should consider consulting your doctor about some of the surgery options that are available. These options include: arthrodesis (fusion), arthroplasty (joint replacement), and arthroscopic debridement.

In The Know

In order to nip foot arthritis in the bud before it starts to affect your quality of life, you should be aware of all the symptoms and treatment options.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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