Your feet and ankles contain a complicated network of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, putting them at risk of arthritis. Left unmanaged, arthritis can affect your mobility and prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. At Orthopedic Associates: Foot & Ankle Specialists in Farmington, New Mexico, the board-certified podiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle arthritis with safe, effective, and cutting-edge methods. To request your consultation today, call the office or use the online booking tool today.
Arthritis is a general term used to describe more than 100 diseases that cause swelling and tenderness in one or more of your joints. The most well-known types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes your immune system to attack the synovium — the lining of your joints. Osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, causes your cartilage, a soft cushionlike substance that pads your joints, to wear away. This causes your bones to rub against one another, causing swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Other types of arthritis known to affect the feet and ankles include gout, big-toe arthritis (hallux rigidus), and post-traumatic arthritis, which develops as a result of a previous injury.
The most common symptoms of arthritis involve your joints. Telltale signs of arthritis include:
As your arthritis gets worse, you might also experience a decreased range of motion and immobility.
Foot and ankle arthritis affects people of all ages and races, but certain factors can increase your risk, including:
Your sex also plays a role. Research shows women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while men are more likely to develop gout.
To diagnose arthritis, your Orthopedic Associates: Foot & Ankle Specialists provider reviews your medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms. Your podiatrist also does a physical exam, checking your joints for redness, swelling, and warmth.
Your podiatrist will then ask you to walk around the room. This lets them see how well you can move your joints. If these tests don’t provide enough information, your doctor can then order lab tests and/or diagnostic imaging like an X-ray or MRI to determine the type of arthritis you have.
Whenever possible, the team at Orthopedic Associates: Foot & Ankle Specialists recommends conservative, noninvasive treatments to relieve arthritis pain. If your arthritis is in the early stages, your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
For pain that continues or gets worse, your doctor might recommend custom orthotics (shoe inserts), prescription medications, or an assistive device like a cane or a walker.
If your arthritis affects your mobility or it causes you chronic pain, you could need surgery. The team regularly does foot and ankle reconstructions using cutting-edge tools and technology.
To determine the type of arthritis treatment that your unique situation calls for, request an appointment at Orthopedic Associates: Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the office or using the online booking tool today.