Arthritis and Plantar Faciitis

Various types of arthritis can cause foot pain and affect the arch of the foot, the ankle and the toes. Plantar fasciitis can be a secondary problem associated with joint conditions.

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Excessive loading of foot joints can lead to osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the medical term for degenerative arthritis.  Damage to the joint and cartilage leaves bone surfaces unprotected and exposed, becoming stiff, painful and tender. Osteoarthritis of the foot is often located in the big toe but it can also be quite common in the arch area. Previous injury to the foot and high impact sports may make it susceptible to osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive and disabling auto-immune disease and can affect any of the joints in the foot.

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease associated with psoriasis and most commonly affects the joint of the hands and feet.

Gout, is a rheumatic disease caused by disturbances in the body’s chemical processes which result the formation of crystals in a joint caused by a build up of uric acid in the body, often it is the foot and especially the big toe joint which becomes painful.

Calcium Crystal Diseases is often referred to as Pseudogout and although similar to gout, is a build up of calcium crystals around a joint.  This condition has a very rapid onset and can attack any age group.  The affected joints rapidly become swollen, hot and tender in as little as six to twelve hours.

Ankylosing spondylitis, is an inflammatory condition which mainly affects the joints of the spine but it can also cause pain or discomfort around the heels.

This myriad of conditions is one of the reasons your practitioner will take a detailed history and may ask many questions which you feel are not relevant to your foot pain.

Treatments for arthritic conditions can sometimes be aimed at limiting the progress of a disease via medication but more often can only help alleviate the symptoms.  Physical therapy can help increase joint mobility and ease tight tendons and muscles, whilst specially developed orthotics reduce and distribute the load on the foot.

You may also be given exercises to help strengthen or stretch affected areas in the lower limb.

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