A podiatrist is a type of doctor who specializes in treating disorders related to the foot, ankle and lower leg. Many patients see these doctors to receive arthritic foot treatment for common disorders such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Although there is no cure for arthritis, these doctors can attempt to prevent a complete loss of mobility due to the condition. With treatment, patients can get help managing pain and learn how to resume normal life activities.
Types of foot arthritis
Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation and swelling that can occur around the body’s joints. With more than 30 joints in each foot, it is not uncommon for patients to experience pain and stiffness in the feet due to arthritis. There are several different forms of arthritis that patients commonly struggle with:
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear. It can be caused by cartilage breaking down over time or an injury. Often, pain gradually worsens over time and patients may experience muscle weakness and trouble walking. This type of foot problem can be especially debilitating for patients who are overweight.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints. While uric acid is produced normally when eating many foods, a rich diet that contains a lot of red meat and frequent alcohol consumption can contribute to the disorder. It most commonly affects the joint located in the base of the big toe. This condition causes gout attacks that are very painful and often happen in the middle of the night.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking the joint lining tissues in various parts of the body, including the feet. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms including persistent foot soreness and swelling and abnormal warmth in particular areas of the foot. Over time, this disorder can cause joint destruction, which can change the shape of the foot and make it difficult to walk. The severity of symptoms associated with this condition tend to fluctuate with episodes of severe flare-ups followed by remission periods.
How a podiatrist can help
When visiting a podiatrist for foot arthritis, the doctor begins by doing a physical examination and asking questions about the individual’s medical history. A variety of tests, such as X-rays or blood tests, may be needed to make an exact diagnosis. Depending on the exact cause of the problem, a variety of nonsurgical treatments can be used, including the use of a brace or anti-inflammatory and steroid medication.
Physical therapy and lifestyle modifications can also help patients increase flexibility in the foot and prevent the condition from getting worse. If necessary, certain types of surgeries, such as fusion surgery or joint replacement surgery, can be used to treat foot arthritis.
Foot arthritis can make life extremely difficult for patients and can sometimes cause extreme pain. Seeing a podiatrist may help patients find relief and perform normal activities with ease. These doctors can examine the patient’s foot and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
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