We treat patients for many different foot and ankle issues here at our Richardson, TX podiatrist office, including arthritis in the lower limbs. It is a common misconception that arthritis only affects senior citizens; there are many different arthritic conditions that affect patients of all ages. No matter which is impacting you or a loved one, Richardson Podiatry Associates can create a treatment plan to help.
Arthritis is actually a “catch-all” term that is used when discussing issues that lead to joint pain and stiffness. The word itself literally means “joint inflammation,” which is fairly vague and can refer to:
- Osteoarthritis – The most common form, this is the “wear and tear” variety that comes with natural breakdown of tissues that line joints as the body ages.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – An autoimmune disorder, RA results in the body’s immune system attacking protective joint lining.
- Gout – Symptoms can be experienced elsewhere, but gout most commonly affects the joint found where the big toe connects to the foot. This particular arthritic condition results from a process the body uses to break down food. Uric acid is a naturally-occurring byproduct and, when produced in excessive amounts or not flushed correctly from the body, can build up in joints and crystalize.
- Trauma-based Arthritis – When bones break, particularly in or near joints, it can lead to an early onset of arthritis. This is most likely to happen as the result of sports injuries, auto accidents, or other sources of physical trauma.
Joint pain and stiffness are the primary symptoms associated with most forms of arthritis. The specific symptoms experienced by a patient depend on the form and severity of his or her arthritic condition, but other common ones include swelling, redness, and reduced range of motion in the joint. When gout is present, the main symptom is painful, periodic flare-ups that often happen at night.
Exercise and Arthritis
It might not seem like physical activity is wise for those who live with arthritic conditions—especially because arthritis makes movement difficult and/or painful for various joints—but this is simply not the case. Exercise is an incredibly effective way to relieve and fight back against troublesome symptoms associated with arthritis.
This would apply to anyone beginning an exercise program, but the key exercising is to start at an easy level and then slowly increase levels of intensity and duration over time. Some excellent examples of activities to consider include walking, yoga, swimming, and even weight lifting. These forms of exercise can reduce painful arthritis symptoms.
The benefits of exercise on arthritis is seen by improved range of motion, muscular strength, and range of motion. Working out on a regular basis can also help affected joints by leading to a healthy bodyweight and less pressure on them.
Dietary Choices and Gout
Dietary choices play an essential role when it comes to this particular form of arthritis. It’s important to know that foods which lead to heightened uric acid levels should be avoided, or at least limited. These food products include seafood, meat, sweets, highly-processed carbohydrates, and alcoholic beverages (especially beer).
We know that sounds like a lot of food options, but centering a diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and low-fat dairy can reduce the frequency of gout attacks and keep the condition at bay.
The specific type of arthritis and severity for a patient being treated will dictate what is included in an effective treatment plan. Physical therapy (exercise), medications, hot and cold therapy, and assistive devices (walkers, canes, etc.) all might play a role in conservative care.
Our hope is to effectively care for arthritic conditions through nonsurgical treatment, but there are instances where surgery is necessary. Most often, this entails either joint replacement or joint fusion to address the pain and provide relief.
Arthritis Care in Richardson, TX
Don’t let arthritis pain in your feet or ankles get in the way of your life. Contact Richardson Podiatry Associates and we will provide the care you need. Give our Richardson, TX foot doctor office a call at (972) 690-5374 or schedule your appointment online today.