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Foot Arthritis Treatment in Illinois

Joint Pain & Inflammation Treatment

The foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones and 33 joints. The ends of the joints are covered with a thin layer of articular cartilage, a slick substance which allows the bones in the joints to glide smoothly over one another during the natural movement of the foot and ankle. Articular cartilage also acts as a kind of shock absorber for the joints, protecting the bones in the foot and ankle during normal activities like walking, running and jumping.

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints, causing damage to the protective layers of cartilage. Over time, the articular cartilage in the affected joint begins to break down, exposing the ends of the joint and allowing the unprotected bones to rub together. This results in pain and stiffness in the affected joint, and can eventually lead to irreparable damage to the joint itself. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, especially the small joints in the ankle, mid-foot and big toe.

Causes of Arthritis of the Foot

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The three that most commonly affect the joints in the ankle and foot are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Although the symptoms associated with these different types of arthritis tend to overlap, the causes vary according to type.

  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear to the cartilage of the joint. Over time the protective layers of cartilage in the joint degenerate, exposing the joint ends and allowing the bones to rub together. This results in the pain and stiffness so commonly associated with the condition. Osteoarthritis primarily affects middle-aged adults, though it has been known to present in younger patients as well. Individuals with a family history of osteoarthritis appear to have a greater risk of developing the condition later in life.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which affects multiple joints throughout the body. In patients with RA the immune system begins to attack the body’s own tissues, damaging cartilage and ligaments. In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis first presents in the smaller joints, including those in the ankle and foot. The underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown, but current research suggests that some people by have a genetic predisposition for the disease.
  • Post-Traumatic Arthritis – Injuries to the foot or ankle, such as a dislocation or a fracture, can lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Even when properly treated, an injured joint is much more likely to become arthritic than a non-injured joint.

Symptoms of Arthritis of the Foot

The most common symptoms associated with arthritis of the foot or ankle include:

  • Pain on bottom of foot near the heel
  • Pain with the first few steps
  • Pain subsides after a few minutes of walking
  • Greater pain after (not during) exercise or activity

Call (630) 584-1400 to schedule an appointment at Fox Valley Orthopedics today.