Our feet go through a lot of wear and tear throughout life. There are also a variety of conditions our feet can develop. If a foot condition goes untreated, it can worsen and cause symptoms that can be debilitating.
Degenerative diseases are characterized by the loss or deterioration of healthy tissue that is often irreversible. Factors responsible for such diseases include genetics, lifestyle choices, activities, and diet. Here are a few common degenerative foot conditions you should be aware of
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. As weight-bearing parts of the body, feet are highly susceptible to this degenerative condition. People with this condition experience cartilage tissue break down, resulting in bone-on-bone rubbing. Patients with osteoarthritis experience severe pain, swelling, and inflammation in joints. Any joint in the body can be affected by osteoarthritis, including joints in the feet.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints in the heel and inner and outer mid-foot areas. It also affects the joint between the big toe and foot bone and between the ankle and shinbone.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the foot include feeling pain and tenderness and the inability to apply weight and pressure on the foot. You may also be unable to move or walk. Lastly, people with osteoarthritis observe stiffness or swelling in the affected area.
Nonsurgical means of treating osteoarthritis are physical therapy, wearing a brace, taking vitamin supplements, and custom orthotics. Losing weight also helps with osteoarthritis as it relieves some of the pressure on your feet. Lifestyle changes and low impact exercises like Pilates, swimming, or yoga can help you lose weight without making osteoarthritis pain worse. In some cases, surgical procedures like arthroscopy, the fusing of a painful joint, and ankle replacement might be necessary depending on the severity of the situation.
Tendonitis is a foot condition caused by wear and tear that has degenerative characteristics. The feet have tissue that connects muscles to bones called tendons. Due to excessive overuse, these tendons can swell up, become inflamed, and deteriorate. Tendonitis commonly affects the following tendons in the legs and feet:
- Achilles tendon. This tissue connects the heel bone and calf muscles.
- Posterior tibial tendon. This tendon connects the inside of the ankle and foot.
- Anterior tibial tendon. This controls and supports the front of the foot when the body moves downward.
- Peroneal cord. This controls the ankle from rolling.
To prevent tendonitis, practice proper warm-up and stretching exercises. Podiatrists recommend adjusting exercise routines to avoid overuse injuries. Choosing shoes with the right arch and heel support is also a significant preventive measure against damage to tendons.
If the condition develops, taking anti-inflammatory medications, resting, and massaging the affected area can relieve pain and other symptoms. Make sure to get a doctor to check out the problem to ensure you don’t have an injury or condition that needs to be addressed or treated by a professional.
Foot and Ankle Care in Central Maryland
If you are suffering from foot pain and suspect a degenerative foot condition may be responsible, consult with an expert to get a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr. Marc Lipton or Dr. Roberto Brandão of Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can help you get relief from foot pain through the best and most effective treatments available. Call us today at (410) 644-1880 or book an appointment online.