As you age, arthritis is one of those things that you can expect could come on. Arthritis is the inflammation and swelling of the lining and cartilage of the joints, and may also cause an increase in joint fluid. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age, and typically targets the synovium, or lining of the joints. Osteoarthritis usually occurs in older people, and affects the cartilage.
Although arthritis and its symptoms can be painful, it does not always require a visit to a podiatrist. However, if you start to experience one of the following symptoms in your feet or ankle joints, you should make an appointment as soon as possible.
Swelling in your joints
When there is an increase in the synovial fluid, or the fluids in the surrounding tissues, you may find your joints swelling. This is a common symptom of arthritis that may limit your joint mobility. When this happens to your feet or ankles, it could lead to immobility. If you notice your feet or ankles swelling, especially around the joint areas, you should visit a podiatrist for treatment to reduce the effect on your mobility.
Changes to your skin
One side effect of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, is skin problems. The most common are
rashes, ulcers, and nodules. When the blood vessels in the area become inflamed, it can lead to sores or rashes. A more common skin problem is rheumatoid nodules, which affect about 1 in 5 people who have rheumatoid arthritis. These are hard lumps of tissue that may be under the skin, on bony areas, or on organs; and their size may vary from very small, to as large as a ping-pong ball. Treatments can be administered, to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Tenderness or recurring pain in a joint
The pain and tenderness associated with arthritis is a well-known symptom of the disorder. When you experience chronic pain in a joint area, it may be a sign that you have arthritis. When you experience this pain in your foot or ankle, you should visit a podiatrist to see what treatments can help reduce the pain.
Redness or heat in a joint
If you notice that the skin around your joints is red, and or hot to the touch, you should check it out. When your joints become inflamed due to arthritis or other conditions, part of the inflammatory response causes redness and heat in the surrounding area, including the skin. Although most warm joints are not a cause for alarm, there are some infections that may also lead to redness or heat, that need to be treated right away. If your redness or heat is combined with chills, a fever, broken skin, or intense pain, you need to see a doctor right away.
Limited mobility of the joint
Arthritis can eventually lead to a limited mobility of the joints. If you have yet to be diagnosed with arthritis, and start to experience limited mobility in your feet and ankles, you should visit a podiatrist to see whether it is arthritis or something else. Treatments to decrease the problem can be arranged, so that you can be more mobile.
Stiffness in the early morning
Many people believe that feeling stiff in the morning is just a regular part of the aging process. Although there is some truth to this, much of this stiffness is caused by arthritis. If you start to notice that you feel stiff over a long period of time, with no real reason, such as having exercised for a long time the day before, visit a doctor to discover and treat the root cause of the stiffness.
These symptoms are the most common for almost all types of arthritis. When you start to experience one or more of them, it’s time to see a doctor to discover whether or not you have arthritis, and what can be done to mitigate the worst aspects of the disorder.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!