I Was Told I Have Arthritis. What Does That Mean?
With over a hundred different types of arthritis and over 300 joints in the human body, the general term of arthritis can quickly get complicated and confusing. It doesn’t have to be that way. Arthritis, in simple terms, is any type of disease or damage that makes a joint not work right. When your doctor tells you that you have arthritis, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are destined to have terribly deformed and chronically painful joints. Flashbacks of your early childhood looking at your great aunt’s twisted hands and incessant bizarre complaints may give you a feeling of hopelessness. Thankfully, arthritis is usually much more mild and more manageable, and even if it is severe, there are a lot more wonderful treatments available today than decades ago. As a podiatrist I am lucky enough to help people feel better and literally get back on their feet, regardless of what type of arthritis they have.
So let’s find out more about arthritis. There are three basic kinds of arthritis and they can be simplified as follows:
#1 Non-flammatory arthritis — This is the “wear and tear” arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is frequently diagnosed by x-ray and clinical exam. Bunions and hammertoes are deformities in the foot that frequently cause the joint to break down and become painful, thus causing arthritis. As we age, our joints should be moving, strengthened, and supported by good shoes and orthotics (arch supports).
#2 Inflammatory arthritis — This kind of arthritis is commonly a result of immune system problems or other diseases in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. Though there is no cure, newer medications and treatment options are available to help patients. In the foot and ankle, anti-inflammatory injections and orthotics can provide relief and even prevent the need for surgery.
#3 Connective tissue disease — This classification is for the more rare leftovers including lupus, sclerosis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
There are many ways that we can treat arthritis from orthotics, medications, and injections to complicated reconstructive surgery. We are excited to help you along the path to improving your function and decreasing pain.
Don’t Live Life In Pain! Call us at 505.880.1000 today to make an appointment.
Justin Ward, DPM