If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, chances are pretty good that you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, one of the most common types. The CDC predicts that osteoarthritis affects approximately 30 million American adults. Whether you are dealing with osteoarthritis yourself or you know someone who is, here are answers to some of your most popular questions regarding this chronic condition.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that results from wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints. While this can affect any area of the body, osteoarthritis is more likely to appear in the hips, knees, fingers, lower back and toes. Cartilage covers bones and helps make joint movement easier while also providing support and cushioning for the bones. Of course, if you have osteoarthritis then the cartilage covering your bones may start to deteriorate, which can cause bones to rub together if the deterioration becomes bad enough.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Most people with osteoarthritis will start to notice some pain and swelling in the very beginning stages. You may find that certain joints become stiff and sore, or that you don’t have as much range of motion or flexibility as you once had. In more advanced stages, osteoarthritis can cause impaired movement and even disability.
What are the risk factors associated with osteoarthritis?
There are many factors that could increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis, including:
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis
- Age: You are more at risk for osteoarthritis as you get older
- Overuse: You perform the same repetitive movements regularly or you put too much stress on certain joints
- Overweight: Being overweight or obese puts too much stress and pressure on joints
- Heredity: If you have a family history of osteoarthritis then you may be more likely to develop it yourself
How is osteoarthritis treated?
There are many lifestyle modifications that can improve your symptoms if you do have osteoarthritis, including:
- Losing weight
- Exercising regularly (and incorporate strength training exercises)
- Pain medications and anti-inflammatories
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices (e.g. cane)
- Corticosteroid injections (to target pain and swelling)
- Surgery (if all other treatment options haven’t provided relief)
If you are concerned about how osteoarthritis is affecting your feet and you aren’t finding relief through more conservative measures, then it’s time to turn to your podiatrist for proper care.
Are your foot symptoms bad enough to warrant surgical interventions?
Have you been trying every treatment possible to help manage your foot problem? Are you not experiencing the relief you thought you would even after months of dedicated care? Are your foot or ankle problems affecting your day-to-day activities? If you said, “yes” to these questions, then it might be time to consider getting foot or ankle surgery. While surgery is often the last thing someone wants to think about it, here are some reasons why it might be needed.
What are the most common types of foot surgeries?
You might be surprised to learn about all the seemingly common conditions that could benefit from surgery. While these conditions don’t always warrant this kind of aggressive treatment, there are some cases in which it will. Here are some of the most common foot surgeries to consider:
- Arthritis (of the foot and/or ankle)
- Ankle replacement
- Plantar fasciitis
- Morton’s neuroma
- Achilles tendon rupture or injury
- Tibialis posterior dysfunction
Why is surgery needed?
Most people with these issues above won’t require surgery to get a handle on their symptoms. Whether you do actually need to get foot surgery will really depend on several factors such as:
- The severity of the pain
- How long you’ve been experiencing pain
- Whether or not you are responding to treatments
- Your quality of life
- Your personal needs
What are the advantages of foot surgery?
For those patients not finding relief through non-surgical methods, you may find that getting surgery could provide you with all the benefits you were hoping for including:
- Reduced or completely eliminated pain
- Improved mobility, function, and range-of-motion
- The ability to wear shoes without discomfort or irritation
- Improvement in the shape and appearance of your feet
Sometimes surgery is able to provide the quality of life that other nonsurgical options just can’t. You can always talk to your podiatric specialist to learn more about the treatments that are right for you.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, find out why your foot health is something you shouldn’t mess with.
When you find out you have diabetes it might feel like everything has suddenly changed. Now there is so much more to think about when it comes to your health. You’ll be given lifestyle changes to adhere to. You may need to exercise more. You may need to change your diet; lose weight. Of course, it’s also important that you consider your foot health in all of this.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, seemingly innocuous foot problems for healthy individuals may not cause issues but it actually could cause serious complications for those with diabetes. Those with diabetes are prone to nerve damage, neuropathy and circulation problems, which can cause a loss of feeling in the feet. Plus, even the smallest of injuries can turn into something more serious if left untreated.
So, what should you do to keep your diabetic feet healthy? Fortunately, there is a simple list of things that you can do every day to ensure that your feet don’t experience problems:
- Examine your feet thoroughly everyday. This not only means the tops and sides but also the soles and in between your toes. If you are unable to do this yourself, turn to a friend or family member who can do it for you. Inspecting your feet daily will ensure that you catch a problem as quickly as possible.
- Call a podiatrist if you notice any cuts, wounds, sores, redness, ingrown toenails or other problems. It may seem a bit odd to call your foot doctor about such seemingly insignificant foot problems but it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. They can tell you whether it warrants a trip to the office.
- Make sure to wash your feet everyday. Seems like a simple enough task, right? Just make sure you are actually spending time washing every area of your feet with soap and warm water. Dry your feet off completely once you get out of the shower.
- It’s important to keep feet from drying out and you can easily help keep feet feeling smooth by applying a moisturizer every day. You should do this once you get out of the shower and dry off your feet to help lock in the moisture.
- Wear socks and shoes everywhere, even if it’s indoors. Going barefoot could leave you prone to potential injury. This is particularly important if you have nerve damage or have lost sensation in your feet, as you may not know that you’ve stepped on something.
If you have diabetes it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can always turn to for the care you need whenever you need it most. Problems can arise suddenly and it’s important that you have a foot specialist you can trust in.
The clearest indication that there’s a problem with your feet is pain or a strange sensation. The next is a physical manifestation of a sore or wound, which is sometimes called a foot burn. If you’re having a problem with foot burns or a burning sensation in your feet that doesn’t seem to go away, it’s important that you talk to a podiatrist about these symptoms right away. This is a common condition that occurs in athletes and people who have certain medical issues, like hypothyroidism and diabetes.
What Are Foot Burns?
A foot burn most commonly refers to a wound that develops on the feet due to friction with a surface, such as a shoe. It usually begins as a sensation in the feet that the patient feels when running or participating in a high-energy activity. The sensation is often felt between the toes, on the sides of the feet and on the balls of the feet. If it goes untreated, actual red, swollen wounds that resemble burns can develop.
Causes of Foot Burns and “Burning” Feet
Sometimes foot burn or the sensation of “burning feet” is simply due to wearing shoes or sneakers that are too tight. The friction of the shoes against the feet causes redness, swelling, the burning sensation and eventually what looks like a foot burn to appear. Foot burns can also develop due to contact dermatitis or an actual burn to the foot due to contact with heat. Another common cause of “burning feet” is uncontrolled diabetes, which can lead to nerve damage (also called peripheral neuropathy) and ulcers. If any burn wounds to the feet go untreated, they can become infected.
Treatments for Foot Burns
When foot burns develop, they must be properly treated as soon as possible by a skilled podiatrist. Treatment options include thorough cleansing of the burn, applying medication to the area and bandaging the feet to aid the healing process. Orthotics may be designed to relieve pressure on the wound and prevent the burn from reoccurring. Orthotic devices can also help stop the burning sensation due to friction with shoes. To address burning or tingling feelings in the feet that are caused by medical conditions, like hypothyroidism or diabetes, it’s important for patients to take steps to get their symptoms under control with better diet and prescribed medication.
If you’re struggling with painful foot burns or a burning sensation in your feet, talk to a podiatrist about your symptoms today. Without proper treatment, burns on the feet or a burning sensation can progress into more complicated problems.
Just discovered that one of your toenails is purple? Find out what this means.
You just took your shoes and socks off and you suddenly noticed that one of your toenails is purple. What is going on, you may wonder? Should you visit one of our Reston, McLean, Ashburn and Fairfax, VA, podiatrists or is this an issue you can handle all on your own? Find out more about why toenails turn purple and if they require special care.
If you notice a purple toenail this is a sign that there is blood pooling under the toenail. This is usually due to an injury to the toenail. Perhaps you stubbed your toe on something, dropped a heavy object on the nail or clocked your foot while running. When the nail is injured the blood vessels underneath will break open and leak.
Besides an injury to the nail, tightly fitted shoes could also lead to a purple toenail. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your toes have enough room to wiggle and move around no matter what shoes you wear. Wearing proper footwear is not only important for the health of your toenails but your feet, as well.
You may also be more likely to develop a purple toenail if you keep your toenails longer than they should be. If you are an athlete you will want to strongly consider keeping your nails trimmed regularly, as running or playing sports with long toenails can increase your chances of stubbing the toe and damaging the toenail.
While discoloration is often the only symptom people experience, if there is enough blood that has pooled under the nail this can cause some discomfort and swelling. If you aren’t experiencing any pain then you won’t have to do anything about the nail (your toenail will grow out healthy over time).
However, if you are experiencing pain, then our Reston, McLean, Ashburn or Fairfax, VA, foot doctors will need to drain the fluid that’s under the nail. By drilling a tiny hole into the nail we can remove some of the excess blood, which will ease symptoms.
Family Foot and Ankle Center in Reston, McLean, Ashburn and Fairfax, VA, is here to answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns. We provide a comprehensive array of foot care services to meet everyone’s personal needs. Find out more about the services we offer by calling our office today.
Call us at (703) 723-9267 (Ashburn), (703) 273-9818 (Fairfax), (703) 556-8637 (McLean) or (703) 723-2719 (Reston).
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