May Is National Arthritis Awareness Month

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With 66 joints in your feet, we at Gentle Professional Foot Care think arthritis is an important issue for our patients. One aspect of this disease that many people don’t realize is that arthritis is actually an umbrella term that covers over 100 different types of joint disease and joint pain. Arthritis can occur in people of both sexes and at any age or race. It is the leading cause of disability in our country, with over 50 million adults and 300,000 children being affected. Below are three of the more prevalent types that can affect your feet and how to recognize them.

Osteoarthritis—this is the most common kind of arthritis. Over time, joints and cartilage wear away and this leaves bone rubbing against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Your risk for this type of arthritis increases if you are overweight, have a family history of osteoarthritis or have had a foot or ankle injury in the past.

Rheumatoid Arthritis—this joint disease occurs when something goes awry with your immune system, which then attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially damaging the joints (and other parts of your body). Researchers currently believe that environmental factors (such as smoking) combined with a genetic predisposition for the disease are what puts patients at risk.

Gout—caused by a build-up of uric acid in the joints which crystallizes and then leads to intense pain, this form of arthritis commonly attacks the joint at the base of the big toe. In people with gout, their bodies may produce too much uric acid or be unable to eliminate excess uric acid – or both. Certain foods that are high in purines—red meat, organ meats, beer, red wine and shellfish—can trigger an attack.

There are a number of ways that you can help prevent arthritis or lessen its severity:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid fried and processed foods

Early detection and treatment can greatly slow the progression and reduce the risk of disability. If you are experiencing any joint discomfort, make an appointment at our Venice office so that our podiatrist Dr. Charles A. Suleskey can examine your feet and ankles and make a prompt diagnosis of the source of the pain.