May is National Arthritis Awareness Month

Did you know that the term arthritis refers to over 100 joint diseases and disorders? At Superior Foot & Ankle Center we want to pass on some information about this group of diseases that currently affects 1 in 5 adults in our country and approximately 300,000 babies, children and teenagers. Generally speaking, the risk of arthritis increases with age and more women than men are affected by these diseases. Your feet and ankles are prime targets for joint disorders, with 33 joints per foot. Common symptoms of arthritis include: pain, swelling and stiffness in joints, which limits range of motion and makes it difficult to move. There are 4 main categories of arthritis:

Degenerative—known as osteoarthritis, this is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs as a result of cartilage break down which can occur as we age. With decreased cartilage bone rubs against bone causing pain and stiffness. Factors that increase your risk for osteoarthritis include: being overweight, previous injury and family history.

Inflammatory—this type of arthritis is related to a dysfunctional immune system that attacks the joints with inflammation. Two examples in this category are rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. These conditions are more complex and affect other systems in your body besides your joints.

Infectious—in some cases joint inflammation can be caused by the invasion of a bacterium, virus or fungus into the joint. Conditions such as salmonella or food poisoning, hepatitis C and certain sexually transmitted disease like Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause this type of arthritis. If caught in the early stages, antibiotics may be able to eliminate the joint infection but chronic arthritis is a possible outcome.

Metabolic—this refers to gout, a form of arthritis that frequently strikes the joint at the base of the big toe. It has to do with the body being unable to rid itself of uric acid. An overabundant amount of this substance will cause crystals in the joints and sudden and extreme pain.

If you have noticed pain or discomfort in the joints of your feet or ankles, make an appointment at our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800 so one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas can evaluate your feet and determine if you are suffering from an arthritic condition.