ROSEMONT, Ill., Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost half of the population in their 60s and 70s has arthritis in their feet or ankles. In recognition of World Arthritis Day 2018 on October 12, the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society® (AOFAS) raises awareness for this painful condition and offers a guide to treatment options.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term for numerous conditions that destroy how a normal joint works. There are several types of arthritis. The most common type, osteoarthritis, results from "wear and tear" to the soft tissue between joint bones, which causes pain, inflammation, redness, and swelling. When you have arthritis of the foot or ankle, the pain makes it hard to walk, and if left untreated the foot or ankle may eventually become deformed.
Foot and ankle arthritis is very common and often overlooked, according to foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon, Casey Jo Humbyrd, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. If you suspect that you may have foot or ankle arthritis, the first step is to consult with a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. They will give you a complete medical examination and confirm the type and extent of the arthritis through x-rays, laboratory tests, and bone scans.
Based on the diagnosis, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan. As Dr. Humbyrd explains, there are three ways foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons treat foot and ankle arthritis.
Treatment generally depends upon the location and severity of the arthritis. "If arthritis is in the front or the middle of the foot, shoe wear modification and stiffening the insoles can provide symptomatic relief," said Dr. Humbyrd. "If it is in the ankle or back of the foot, braces and shoe modifications can also provide relief." The doctor also may recommend weight loss, adjusting your activity levels, or physical therapy.
Medication can help reduce swelling in the foot and ankle, as well as manage pain. The surgeon's treatment regimen may include anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections. It is important to take these medications as directed by your doctor.
If the patient still experiences ankle pain and decreased function from arthritis after trying all nonoperative treatment options, Dr. Humbyrd then considers surgery. There are a variety of surgical options to get the patient back to their normal activity. One such procedure is a total ankle replacement, which replaces the arthritic joint with an artificial joint. Though not all patients are candidates for the surgery, total ankle replacement can drastically reduce pain and improve function for people with ankle arthritis.
Dr. Humbyrd notes that there are many new and interesting advancements in foot and ankle arthritis treatment. "One of the newer products is a synthetic cartilage implant used to treat arthritis in the big toe." Dr. Humbyrd continues, "Other new advancements include custom 3D-printed implants that enable us to treat deformities, arthritis, and bone loss of lower extremities."
Learn more about foot and ankle arthritis treatment from FootCareMD.org.
About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeons
Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consist of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and a fellowship year of specialized surgical training. These specialists care for patients of all ages, performing reconstructive surgery for deformities and arthritis, treating sports injuries, and managing foot and ankle trauma.
About the AOFAS
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) mobilizes our dynamic community of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to improve patient care through education, research, and advocacy. As the premier global organization for foot and ankle care, AOFAS delivers exceptional events and resources for continuous education, funds and promotes innovative research, and broadens patient understanding of foot and ankle conditions and treatments. By emphasizing collaboration and excellence, AOFAS inspires ever-increasing levels of professional performance leading to improved patient outcomes. For more information visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society online at aofas.org.
SOURCE American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society