Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes the degeneration of cartilage and bone in the joints of the body. It is most common in older individuals and those who suffered injuries in specific joints earlier in life. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, which means it will continue to get worse with time. If typically requires joint surgery (oftentimes a replacement) for correction in later stages when conservative treatments no longer work.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild in the early stages and severely debilitating in the advanced stages. The symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, weakness, tingling, and a limited range of motion in the affected joints. A lot of patients are forced to adjust their lifestyles and activities to accommodate for the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle
Osteoarthritis can affect the joints in the foot and ankle as much as any other joints in the body. Unfortunately, because the feet are integral to anything you do when standing, osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle can have significant indirect impact on the rest of your body and overall health.
It often affects the big toe joint, the mid-foot bone, and the joint where the ankle meets the shinbone. These joints are most likely to get injured when you are physically active, particularly when playing sports. As a result, later on in life, these joints can be susceptible to osteoarthritis. These particular joints also take on immense pressure from day to day activities. As a result, they can get normal wear and tear, which for some people can lead to gradual deterioration as they get older.
Some telltale signs of foot and ankle osteoarthritis include localized pain that occurs when you stand, walk, or run and joint stiffness and immobility – particularly when waking up in the morning or after long periods of inactivity.
Treating Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis
Early-stage foot and ankle osteoarthritis may be treated with conservative treatment methods by a foot specialist or podiatrist. A combination of custom orthotics, braces, physical therapy, low-impact exercises, and other pain management techniques, like cortisone injections and acupuncture, may help manage foot and ankle osteoarthritis symptoms. Treating the disease usually requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the patient’s nutrition and lifestyle through modifications.
If conservative treatment methods provide no relief, which is usually the case for patients who seek treatment for osteoarthritis in the late stages, doctors may recommend joint surgery to correct the issue. There are a variety of procedures that can correct foot or ankle osteoarthritis problems, including joint replacement. A podiatrist can assess your injury and recommend the right procedure for your particular issue.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle in Maryland
If you suspect you may have osteoarthritis of the foot or ankle or are currently receiving treatment that has not yielded good results, the podiatrists at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can offer you better and much more effective treatments. We specialize in foot and ankle care and have decades of experience restoring foot and ankle function for patients with osteoarthritis.
Schedule an appointment and find out how we can help you. To schedule a consultation, call us at (410) 644-1880 or request an appointment. We look forward to serving you.