Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is common in older men and women and often manifests in the 28 bones and more than 30 joints of the feet. It develops slowly after chronic wear and tear on the joints over a long period of time.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Most obviously, osteoarthritis hurts. If the joints in your feet, ankles, or lower legs are hurting day after day, a visit to the podiatrist is in order. Additionally, be aware of stiffness, pain, or swelling in the joints, and a reduced ability to move, walk, or bear weight.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Each one of the 100,000 or more miles that the average American will walk in his or her lifetime creates stress on the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the lower body. Cartilage breaks down. Inflammation, injury, pain, swelling, decreased range of motion, and deformity can result, as can chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis.
Living with Osteoarthritis
When you see your foot doctor, he or she will carefully examine your feet, ankles, and lower legs, diagnose the source of your discomfort, and work with you to create a comprehensive treatment plan. If your podiatrist diagnoses osteoarthritis, there is no cure, but many treatment options are available. While surgery is occasionally necessary, it’s likely that you’ll be offered non-surgical methods first, including over the counter and prescription medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, and custom orthotics.
It’s important to keep moving arthritic joints in order to slow the degradation of your range of motion. James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS recommends the following exercises:
- Toe curl: Put a small object, such as a pen or pencil, on the floor. Use your toes to pick it up and put it down. Do this five times with each foot.
- Toe stretches: Spread the toes, then squeeze all the toes together. Repeat five times on each foot, holding each stretch for a count of 10.
- Achilles stretch: Facing a wall with one foot farther back than the other, place your palms flat on the wall and straighten your arms. Keep your heels on the floor and lean into your hands. Repeat three times on each side, holding for 10 seconds each time.
If you’re noticing that standing or walking is causing pain in your feet, ankles, or lower legs, you may have developed osteoarthritis. It’s time to see foot care specialist Dr. James M. McKee. Using state of the art equipment and technology and drawing on decades of education and experience, Dr. McKee will thoroughly examine your feet to accurately determine whether you’re dealing with arthritis or another condition and then will work with you to create an effective plan for moving forward. Click here or call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A.‘s friendly staff at 410-224-4448 today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD.