October 12 is World Arthritis Day, which is a great time for all of us at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists to point out the many ways that arthritis can affect your feet. While there are many types of arthritis, the most common form to strike the feet is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is essentially a worn-down joint. After years of use or after an injury, the protective cartilage between bones can thin out, leaving the bones exposed to each other. One bone rubbing against another is what causes the pain you know as arthritis.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your feet and ankles. However, one of the most common examples is arthritis of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint – the joint at the base of your big toe. When the cartilage in the MTP joint deteriorates, it becomes difficult to move your big toe, a condition called hallux limitus. Eventually, the condition progresses to the point where you can’t move your toe at all (hallux rigidus).
Don’t let arthritis slow you down
The pain, swelling, and joint tenderness of foot or ankle arthritis can really make it difficult to move around. And yet, too many people needlessly suffer through the pain.
One of the most important things you can do to improve the pain of arthritis is to stay active. It may sound a little crazy to say, “Move around” when moving around hurts! And yet, the more you move your joints, the more they remain lubricated and flexible. In addition, regular exercise will help support your weakened joints by building muscle around them.
The alternative to remaining active is to become sedentary. Sitting around puts you at risk for weight gain, increased joint pain from the extra weight, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.
So stay active! Eat a healthy diet, wear a brace or custom orthotics to relieve pressure on your joints, and consider physical therapy to help keep joints flexible and muscles strong. Our expert podiatrists can help you with all of these methods to relieve joint pain in your feet. Call (334) 396-3668 for an appointment with Montgomery County foot specialists Dr. Heidi M. Christie and Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts in Montgomery, Alabama.