Many people suffer from arthritis pain every day of their lives. Arthritis is a very general term for joint pain and inflammation, but there are numerous types that can occur. It’s important to understand which type you have so treatment can be administered.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is simply a term that means “inflammation of the joints.” As of right now, there are over 100 different types of arthritis, but they all have one thing in common: joint pain. If you feel stiffness in your joints or notice redness or swelling you might have arthritis. Anyone from grown adults to small children can be affected by this condition, so if your child is feeling pain it’s best to get him or her checked out just to be sure. Most forms of arthritis are merely annoying and not serious. If you are able to catch it early you can usually minimize and slow down the severity of your joint pain.
Types of Arthritis
Since there are so many types of arthritis that it’s difficult to mention them all, but we will talk about three of the most common types:
Osteoarthritis: This type of joint inflammation typically attacks older people. It is a degenerative condition that increases in severity over time. It breaks down the cartilage in the bones and causes pain. Usually the most affected areas of the body include the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA can be found in anyone of any age, and there is no known cause. This chronic condition can cause swollen or tender joints, stiffness, achiness, and loss of joint function. Since there is no cure for RA it’s crucial to catch it early to slow down its progression.
Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that causes crystals of uric acid to form in your joints. This can be a very painful form of arthritis that results in aggressive flare-ups. Fortunately, gout can be controlled through a healthy diet of foods that are low in purines. This means avoiding things like red meat, shellfish, and alcohol.
Treatment really depends on the type of arthritis you have. It’s important to get correctly diagnosed so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you catch arthritis the better. Since it’s a degenerative disease it can do a lot of irreparable damage.
Treatments that are available for treating the symptoms of arthritis may include physical therapy, icing the affected area, different types of medicine prescribed by your doctor (including anti-inflammatories and pain medication), splinting, paraffin wax dips, and surgical procedures. If you have gout, your treatment and preventive care regimen will also include changes to your diet. Arthritis can come in many varieties and degrees of severity, so take the time to get checked out so you can avoid further complications.
At the first sign of joint pain you should really consider seeing a doctor. If you are feeling joint pain in your feet or ankles call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment with us in one of our three Massachusetts offices. We have locations in North Andover, Lowell, and Haverhill for all of your podiatric needs.