With 33 joints in each of your feet, arthritis is a disease that can greatly impact your podiatric health. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we find that although most patients have a basic understanding of what arthritis is, there is a lot of misinformation out there about types, symptoms and treatments. Starting, for example, with the idea the arthritis is an “old person’s” disease. In fact, of the 50 million adults who have been diagnosed with arthritis, two thirds of them are under the age of 65. There are also approximately 300,000 children with the disease. Below are some common questions to help patients be better informed about arthritis:
Q: What exactly is arthritis?
A: Arthritis isn’t one single disease. It is actually an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are over 100 kinds of arthritis. Among the most common types are osteoarthritis—the type that occurs as the cartilage and lubrication in your joints gradually wears down as you age and rheumatoid arthritis—an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and other symptoms throughout your body. Some other forms of arthritis you may have heard of include: gout, Carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and Lupus.
Q: Who’s at risk for joint disease?
A: Although arthritic disorders can occur in all ages, races, and both sexes, there are some factors that put a person at a higher risk, including:
·Family history—there can be a hereditary component to the disease
·Previous joint injury—sites of injury earlier in life can become places in the body where arthritis develops as you age
·Weight—being obese or overweight puts extra strain on your joints (especially those in your feet and other lower extremities)
Q: How do I know if I have arthritis?
A: Common symptoms of arthritis include pain and stiffness in your joints, swelling and/or redness at joint sites and a decreased range of motion. If you are experiencing any of these it’s best to make an appointment with one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko by contacting our Valley Stream or Lake Success office. In addition to examining your feet and ankles, the foot doctor may use x-rays, MRI’s or other imaging studies and laboratory tests. Once the specific type of arthritis is identified the correct treatment can be prescribed. The earlier arthritis is caught, the better the outcome, so don’t delay seeking treatment if you have joint pain.