Dealing with pain is never easy. Be it work-related or sports-related, it can affect the everyday activities of a person and make life difficult. Osteoarthritis develops as incorrect activity increases. Simply “walking off” an injury seems to do more harm than good as recent studies have confirmed.
Arthritis is a general term for many debilitating diseases. Osteoarthritis, however, is also known as the “wear and tear arthritis” and is the most common type of arthritis. Arthritis involves inflammation and swelling in and around the body’s joints and surrounding soft tissue. This is also the case when osteoarthritis is considered, but it is more degenerative and age-related. Knowing this, the obvious conclusion is that osteoarthritis will affect individuals more advanced in years. The pain involved can lead to the breakdown of cartilage as well as swelling and/or deformity. The changes over time have been known to be more slowly progressive than immediately noticeable.
There are 28 bones and more than 30 joints in the human foot. The pain, as previously mentioned, is not merely noticed right away, but rather progressive in nature. Improper foot care, especially when sports injuries are involved, will lead to problems that will become more frequent and severe later in life. The par
ts of the foot that are most affected by osteoarthritis are where the joint of the big toe and the foot bone meet, where the ankle and the shinbone meet, and the three joints that involved the inner mid-foot bone or the outer mid-foot bone as well as t
he heel bone. Incorrect treatment of injuries related to these parts of the foot can change the current abilities of an individual considerably. There are cases in which misdiagnosed problems and an incorrect regimen change a person’s lifestyle beyond repair, and thus creating more problems for the patient.
When dealing with osteoarthritis, there are procedures that should be followed. Aside from an X-Ray and magnetic response imaging (MRI), it should be noted that the patient should be able to feed the attending physician with information such as patient
history (active/inactive, types of activity, and where the injury may have occurred) in addition to any noticeable pain or swelling. The more the doctor knows, the better the individual can be treated.
A bone scan may be ordered which, coupled with an X-Ray and MRI, will better determine the appropriate course of action. Surgery or other procedures may be ordered according to the extent of the injury. Anything invasive is more in line with broken bones or fractures of varying degrees. This another topic altogether which should be addressed accordingly.
How much can osteoarthritis affect a person’s life? Foot and ankle pain does not have to be completely debilitative in nature. Lifestyles and activities change due to osteoarthritis, but it should never keep a person from continuing a certain degree of
“normalcy.” Proper and careful rehabilitation can help a
patient maintain most of his or her previous activities. Additionally, when medication under the care of a qualified
physician is involved, a person that suffers from osteoarthritis is not subject to an “end all activity” type of condition. Most patients that have to deal with osteoarthritis and many other injuries have learned to adjust their routines so they do not have to give up
activities they enjoy. An aged basketball player may not be able to run up and down the court like he once did in college. He simply learns to adjust his previous abilities according what he can do as he gets older- ultimately still maintaining his game.
There are methods that are tried and tested when treating osteoarthritis. Some cases involve irreparable damage to cartilage and other tissue. The most common ways to deal with foot and ankle pain include exercise/therapy and sometimes coupled with
Treating osteoarthritis usually means non-invasive procedures however severe the case may or may not be. There are a number of anti-inflammatory drugs and ointments that can be bought without needing a doctor’s prescription. These types of medication work well when treating swelling and joint pain. Other treatment methods can also include the use of a cane, crutches, or braces for the ankle and/or foot. Inserts can also be used to help support the ankle and foot and these are more
common for patients who participate in sports of all types.
The most essential way to deal with osteoarthritis and foot/ankle pain of all sorts is to wear comfortable shoes. Foot care and being in fashion can go hand in hand when certain measures are taken. A female patient with osteo arthritis can still wear heels if
she chooses, but there is a time and place for everything. If the patient decides that she would rather walk around a shopping mall to get her exercise during her lunch break, heels of any height may end up causing more damage. Switching to something
like running shoes may not look too fashionable, but it
is much more effective than going back to the podiatrist because of an increase in pain. This brings up yet another point- weight control.
More often than not, people who are obese (even in their younger years) are more likely to show symptoms of osteoarthritis than people who are not overweight. When a person is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, one of the first riders of business is for the individual to get a handle on their weight and diet regimen. Relief and significant results are almost immediately noticeable when a person with foot and ankle pain pulls the reins in on a (previously diagnosed) weight problem. This is especially true when a patient does not even notice that he/she may actually be
prone to osteoarthritic difficulties. This can also be the case for people who suffer from gout- which is a common condition closely related to and part of osteoarthritis.
Foot and ankle care, while many times taken for granted, begins with awareness. When difficulty arises, medical consultation should be a course of action right away. Self-diagnosis, while seemingly less expensive, may lead to further complications
down the road.