08 Sep Arthritis in Feet – What to do
How To Stop Arthritis Before It Stops You
It can be surprising how common arthritis is. 1 in 5 Americans over 18 has arthritis, 1 in 5. It can have many causes, but what you need to know right now is if you have it, & if you do, what to expect.
With over 100 different things being referred to as arthritis, symptoms vary, but the first thing you can usually expect is a burning or dull ache in a joint. The pain can often be a “sometimes” thing, and may only flare up when you’ve been using the joint a lot.
Examine the Joint
Because of the pain, the joint tries to cushion itself with this thing called “Synovial Fluid”. Think of it like motor oil for your joints. If your pain develops into arthritis, this fluid can start building up & become too much. The joint becomes inflamed & swelling creeps up, creating more pain & making it harder to move.
As was said, there are many kinds of arthritis, but there are 4 common forms that you should look out for.
Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis, & arguably the most awful. It usually affects the joints that you need most, such as knees, elbows, hips, lower back, but can also affect smaller joints as well. It often starts with just one joint that becomes painful, & then becomes more & more difficult to use.
Rheumatoid arthritis is like osteoarthritis in that it causes soreness & swelling in the joints, as well as making movement more & more difficult. It usually affects the smaller joints at first but has non-joint symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, & chest pain. This disease is also symmetrical. If it causes pain in the fingers on your right hand, it will most likely cause the same pain in the same fingers on your left hand. The worst thing about the disease is that it can be systemic – it can spread throughout the whole body.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition (like rheumatoid arthritis), which means that it causes the immune system – your body’s defense – system to attack itself. Besides the joint pains & swelling, this disease can cause your skin & eyes to break out in rashes & pain. A grim identifier of the disease is “sausage-like” swelling of a whole finger or toe, & changes to the nails.
Gout is a strange form of arthritis that usually affects the large joint of the big toe but occasionally can affect the ankle, knee, & other joints. When gout causes a joint to flare up, it can cause intense pain, swelling, & redness in only one joint. Gout can return to the same joint over & over again, or it may move to other joints. It can be completely debilitating, but today we have medicines that can relieve flares & stop them from ever coming back.
Words of Wisdom on Arthritis
Arthritis can be scary, and that’s without thinking about how common it is. But don’t worry too much, because the symptoms come on so slowly that you probably have plenty of time to talk to your doctor. Just don’t be the frog that stayed in the warm water until it boiled, and look out for symptoms.
Getting treatment before symptoms worsen can save you from permanent joint damage. Once you begin to feel pain or swelling that doesn’t go away after a couple of days, go make sure you’re okay!