There are two types of arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly identifies your joints as foreign substances and attacks them. It is the most serious form of arthritis, and typically affects smaller joints like those found in the ankles, toes, and hands. Osteoarthritis is the more common form of arthritis and it is the result of years of wear and tear on your joints. It tends to affect the joints that are subject to the most stress and usage, like the knees or elbows.
Arthritis can become debilitating, especially if it is found in the feet and ankles, but the following 7 tips may help to alleviate some of the symptoms:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapists can assist you with exercises that will maintain muscle strength and function so that you can still use the arthritic parts of the body.
- Activity alteration: Make a mental note of the activities that give you the most discomfort. If at all possible, avoid them or alter them so that they do not give you pain.
- Over-the-counter medications: Advil and Aleve are two drugs that have anti-inflammatory properties. Try to take them with food, and pay close attention to the dosing information.
- Braces: A brace for the knee, wrist, or ankle may help to stabilize the joint and limit the amount of excess movement.
- Weight loss: The lower body supports the entire weight of the body, so even a few pounds may provide some much-needed relief to its joints.
- Canes or walkers: Walking aids may allow you to distribute your weight more evenly so that you are placing less stress on the affected joints.
- Alternative therapies: Massages, acupuncture, and herbal remedies tend to have mixed results for arthritis treatment, but they can be discussed with your doctor if you choose.
In many ways, arthritis is a normal part of aging, and although it cannot be reversed, that does not mean that it cannot be treated. At the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston, our doctors want you to find relief for all of your ailments, including bunions, foot ulcers, ingrown toenails, and more. To request an appointment at one of our several offices, contact us or call us at (281) 444-4114 today!