Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in one or more joints. As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans. It is known as degenerative arthritis, reflecting its nature to develop as part of the aging process. In the foot, the disease most frequently occurs in the big toe joint, although it is also often found in the midfoot and ankle.
Osteoarthritis is caused by a variety of factors. Typically considered a “wear and tear” disease, osteoarthritis occurs over time once the cartilage in the joint breaks down due to repeated stress. As the cartilage deteriorates and gets thinner, the bones lose their protective covering and eventually may rub together, causing pain and inflammation of the joint. Sometimes osteoarthritis develops as a result of abnormal foot mechanics such as a high arch or flat foot due to lack of stability and excessive strain on your joints. The last factor that can cause osteoarthritis is an injury. For example, osteoarthritis in the foot is often caused by jamming the toe, dropping something on the foot, a sprain or a fracture.
Signs and Symptoms
People with osteoarthritis in the foot or ankle most commonly experience one or more of the following symptoms:
· Pain and stiffness in the joint
· Swelling in or near the joint
· Difficulty walking or bending the joint
· Development of a bone spur (a bony protrusion) at the affected joint
Following the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, there are different treatment options Dr. Lockwood recommends:
· Oral medications
· Orthotic devices
· Steroid Injections
· Physical therapy
If non-surgical treatment fails to adequately reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis, surgery may be recommended. It is always best to consult a specialist, such as Dr. Lockwood, to customize a treatment plan to fit your specific needs. Call 309-661-9975 or visit www.HeartlandFootAndAnkle.com to schedule an appointment.