What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis, a condition characterized by damage and stiffness of the joints, may affect any of the more than 30 joints in the foot and ankle. The joints that connect the bones of the foot and ankle provide the body with the balance and stability required to stand, walk, and pursue other physical activities.
As arthritis advances, it may damage cartilage, the smooth material lining the ends of bones in the joints. Cartilage allows the foot and ankle bones to move against each other without friction. If cartilage erodes, the bones may begin to rub directly against each other, causing further joint damage and deep, aching pain, particularly during movement. Bones that rub together may also cause bony growths to develop, which may interfere with joint motion and worsen the pain. Over time, joint damage may also lead to stiffness and deformity in the foot and ankle and make walking and other movements difficult.
What Causes Arthritis?
The two main types of arthritis-osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis-damage joints in different ways.
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to a joint's cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on the bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
How To Relieve Arthritis?
Most types of arthritis aren't completely curable, but they can be managed or even temporarily cured. In many cases, arthritis symptoms can be reduced with the following measures:
- Weight loss. Excess weight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints. Losing weight may increase your mobility and limit future joint injury.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can help keep joints flexible. Swimming and water aerobics may be good choices because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on weight-bearing joints.
- Heat and cold. Heating pads or ice packs may help relieve arthritis pain.
- Change in proper footwear. Proper fit is a key factor in how foot-friendly shoes are. Especially those shoes designed with arch support, heel cups, cushioned soles, and shock absorption.
- Use orthotics inserts. Custom-made orthotics can help soothe arthritic foot pain. They can be customized to change the mechanics of your foot-they can be made to be more accommodating to your feet, by adding supportive cushioning.
Recommended Shoes For
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