Osteoarthritis – A Podiatrist Can Help!
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that can affect many joints in the lower limb BUT it doesn’t have to stop you doing the activities you love and you don’t have to suffer in pain. This article will help explain.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a general break down of the joints, it often occurs in older people however some younger men and woman may suffer from this disease. It is structural changes to the joint and often involves the cartilage and cushioning in the joints breaking down. It can also cause a loss of range of motion, reduced stability, swelling and for many people, it causes discomfort.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a result of ‘wear and tear’ over the years. It commonly occurs in weight baring joints such as the foot and knee joints as these joints have carried large amounts of pressure over the years.
Other factors that can contribute to osteoarthritis are genetics, being overweight or obese, previous injury, overuse of the joint/s or other factors such as illness’ or diseases.
How Do You Diagnose Osteoarthritis?
If you are experiencing joint pain seeking professional help is encouraged to form a diagnosis and a management plan. For the diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in the foot, ankle or knee you can see your doctor or your podiatrist.
An X-Ray may be requested of the area of concern so that a clear image of the bones and joint structure can be seen. From this we can assess if there is osteoarthritis in the joint and the severity of it; helping form a treatment plan for each individual. In some cases, your doctor may also order blood tests to rule out any other causative factors.
What Is The Treatment For Osteoarthritis?
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, treatment often involves managing the symptoms and increase the bodies ability to cope with the changes that have already occurred. In most cases non-surgical and non-pharmacological management plans are explored first. Many management and treatment options are aimed to reduced joint stiffness and pain, increase joint stability and overall balance. A plan should also aim to increase range of motion, flexibility and mobility and ideally aim for the person to maintain a healthy weight to reduced the pressures place through the joints.
How We Can Help You As Your podiatrist?
As mentioned above we aim to increase balance and aid in mobility this can be done through good fitting footwear and orthotics designed individually for you. We can also provide tailored stretches and exercises to help increase balance, reduced the risk of falls and increase the joint’s range of motion. Pain can reduce your quality of life so we aim reduce this by decreasing the pressures place through the joint or reducing any inflammation; this can also be done through the use of footwear, orthotics, hot/cold therapies or over the counter products (eg. Fisiocream).
Treatment options can include:
– Footwear advice – Good fitting shoes with cushioning and support
– Prolotherapy (Glucose injections to help rebuild cartilage)
– Hot / Cold therapies
If you, or someone you love, have aching or painful feet, or you’ve noticed a change in the look of the bones or have be diagnosis with osteoarthritis give us a call (03) 9372-7452 or contact us via our booking form for a friendly assessment where we can develop a management plan to get you back on your feet feeling happy and confident.
Article by Virginia Black BHSc MPod AAPSM