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
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.
To help improve mobility and decrease pain and swelling sometimes medications,
bracing, orthosis, steriod injections, custom shoe gear and physical therapy can be
When conservative treatment does not provide the patient with relief, a wide variety of
surgical techniques can be utilized to improve daily symptoms.