Many people are surprised to find out that there are various types of arthritic conditions. It is a fairly common misconception that arthritis is a single disease. Further, it is widely believed to be something that only affects the elderly. These are both simply not the case. The term is used colloquially to describe over 100 different conditions that all have one thing in common—stiff, painful joints.
A look at some of the common arthritic conditions can help you understand what might be causing pain or stiffness in your foot or ankle joints:
- Osteoarthritis (OA). This type of arthritis is the likely source for any misconceptions, because it tends to be more prevalent than the others and is often seen in older patients. If you think of “wear and tear” as the reason for arthritis, this is actually the condition you have in mind.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). While OA develops over time in response to usage, RA is an autoimmune disease that turns the body’s defenses against its own tissues. At this time, medical experts do not know exactly why the condition happens, but there is likely a genetic component.
- Gout. To further illustrate the wide range of arthritis causes, gout is a form of the disease that develops in response to a biological process taking place when your body breaks down food. Uric acid is a byproduct of food breakdown, which is normal. When excessive amounts are produced, or the uric acid is not properly flushed out of your system, it builds up in joints, crystallizes, and then causes periodic bouts of intense, sharp pain, followed by lingering discomfort for up to a few weeks. This most often happens in the joint found at the base of your big toe.
- Trauma-based Arthritis. Sometimes, the trigger for an arthritic condition is physical trauma. When a bone in a joint is fractured, it can lead to an early onset of arthritis. It may take a couple of years after the traumatic incident for symptoms to arise.
No matter which of the types of arthritic conditions is causing a problem for your feet or ankles, we can help. Advanced Foot and Ankle provides exceptional podiatric services for our patients from Twin Falls, Burley, and the surrounding Idaho communities. You can call us for more information at (208) 731-6321 or simply schedule an appointment with either of our offices online today.