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What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation, deterioration and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints of the foot. Cartilage allows for fluid and smooth motion of joints. When cartilage breaks down or is lost, symptoms such as inflammation and limited mobility develop. Inflammation causes redness, warmth, pain and swelling. There are about 40 million Americans who suffer from arthritis. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, estimates that by the year 2020, about 60 million Americans will have arthritis.

There are many different types of arthritis. The most common type is called osteoarthritis. It is known as a wear and tear arthritis and it usually develops as part of the aging process. Osteoarthritis causes a slow and gradual wearing away of cartilage in the joints of the foot. Over time, movement becomes difficult and painful. The pain and swelling worsens while standing or walking. Stiffness usually occurs after periods of rest.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks the lining of our joints, also known as the synovium. The process causes a swelling and thickening of this lining. The disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage, dislocation and stiffness of the joints. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, disorders of our immune system play a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression.

Gout is a type of arthritis. It can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, a swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. These attacks can happen over and over unless gout is treated. Over time, they can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues. Excess uric acid crystals collect in and around the joints of the big toe. This often leads to severe and sudden pain. Gout is more common in men.

Treatment

To help improve mobility and decrease pain and swelling sometimes medications, bracing, orthosis, steriod injections, custom shoe gear and physical therapy can be utilized.

When conservative treatment does not provide the patient with relief, a wide variety of surgical techniques can be utilized to improve daily symptoms.