What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a general term used to describe any type of joint pain. It is usually associated with pain, stiffness, inflammation and joint damage.

iStock_18119212_LARGEThere are many different types of arthritis, with the most common being Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Gout is also a form of arthritis. These three forms of arthritis account for 95% of arthritis cases in Australia. However there are around 100 different types of arthritis and they can affect any age group. Arthritis generally becomes more prevalent with age, particularly after the age of 45 years.[1]

Just about any joint in the body can be affected by arthritis, and with 33 joints in each foot, it isn’t surprising that arthritis in the feet is pretty common. In fact, about 1 in 6 older people had painful arthritis affecting their feet according to a recent study.[2] Knees, hips and spine are also quite susceptible to developing arthritis. Being overweight places more stress on the bones and joints and has been shown to increase foot and lower limb pain in arthritis.

How is Arthritis treated?

Treatment for arthritis depends on the exact type of arthritis and the joints affected. Generally speaking though, when treating arthritis associated with your feet and legs, treatment usually involves:

  • Stretches and exercises to maintain joint mobility
  • Supportive, well cushioned footwear, fitted well to protect painful joints
  • Arch supports or prescription orthoses to stabilise the foot, reduce abnormal joint loading and help prevent deformity
  • Advice for maintaining healthy lifestyle and reducing stress on the affected joints.

References:

http://www.arthritisaustralia.com.au/index.php/arthritis-information.html

  1. AIHW, A snapshot of arthritis in Australia 2010, 2010, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Canberra.
  2. Roddy, E., et al., The population prevalence of symptomatic radiographic foot osteoarthritis in community-dwelling older adults: cross-sectional findings from the clinical assessment study of the foot. Annals Of The Rheumatic Diseases, 2015. 74(1): p. 156-163.