Arthritis is a condition that occurs when cartilage around the bones becomes inflamed and fluid begins to accumulate in the joints. Hands and feet are the first areas of the body to become affected by arthritis. Arthritis related pain in the feet is much worse than in other areas of the body because of the constant pressure from bodyweight that our feet endure.

Arthritis is a debilitating disease, and it affects more than 40 million Americans. Everyone is at risk at any stage of life, but individuals over 50 are more susceptible to arthritis.

The causes of arthritis may include: heredity predisposition, injury, infections of the joint, gonorrhea, Lyme disease, and colitis (a disorder of the bowels). Using certain drugs can also cause arthritis flare-ups.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered to be one of the most serious forms of this painful condition. RA affects four times as many women than men. RA is different than osteoarthritis because it occurs when the body’s immune system does not work properly. There can be periods of remission (when there are no symptoms), followed by the experience of a limited range of motion, and then sudden pain due to inflammation. This cycle can occur for months or years at a time. Some of the symptoms that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis include: long periods of joint stiffness, weight loss, and physical and mental fatigue. RA can even affect the vision of some individuals.

Some symptoms of any form of arthritis that would require professional attention are: swelling, tenderness, redness/rashes (or other noticeable changes in the skin), heat radiating through the joints, limited movement, and severe stiffness in the joints (especially upon waking).

Diagnosis and Treatment: Arthritis affects individuals in many different ways, and early diagnosis and treatment is important with any type of arthritis. Leaving arthritis untreated can cause irreversible bone and cartilage damage.

Treatment of RA focuses on controlling the inflammation that causes pain, and preserving (if not restoring) function of the joints. Even though it is a complex disorder, physical therapy and medication can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Prescription shoes, leg braces, and orthotics (shoe inserts) may also be effective treatments that relieve arthritis pain.

Surgery is a necessary treatment option for some patients that have irreversible joint damage. Damaged joints can be replaced if necessary.

Call Dr. Kenneth Lefkowitz of Quality Foot Care at 215-230-9707 to address the arthritis situation in your feet. Your foot is usually the first area to be affected by pain associated with RA and other forms of arthritis, and bunions are known to be a manifestation of this condition. Visiting Dr. Lefkowitz’s Doylestown office can ensure that you continue or begin to walk pain free.