To anyone who doesn’t suffer from arthritis, it’s difficult to understand just how debilitating and painful the condition can be.
Arthritis affects a person’s joints, which makes moving around difficult if they’re experiencing a flare-up. However, resting up is not a good idea either, as acute stiffness is also an aspect of the condition and something that can become worse with age. Joints can also swell if uric acid builds up, which can make bending them painful.
There are many, many forms of arthritis, which can affect our bodies in different ways.
Typically, arthritis affects the joints, but rheumatoid arthritis can affect the organs, such as the lungs and heart. As an auto-immune disorder, it can also damage your blood vessels, your skin and your eyes, as the body essentially begins to attack its own tissue; this tends to affect the linings around your joints and can make them tender.
During the early days of this disease, the smaller joints are particularly affected, such as those within the hands and feet.
This is the most common form of the disease that typically affects a person’s hands, knees, spine and hips. Sitting for long periods of time, which causes the joints to stiffen, can be painful; sufferers find it more comfortable to stand or get up and make small movements on a regular basis to prevent any build up of acid and, subsequently, swelling of the affected areas.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, it’s common to hear a grating noise as you flex your joints, which is the sound of bone against bone; this occurs when the cartilage eventually disintegrates if the sufferer has had the condition for some time. Studies show that women are more prone to developing the disease, though it’s not entirely clear why this is. The risk factor for the disease also increases if a person is obese, as their skeleton carries greater weight.
Prolonged stress on the joints is also the reason why some athletes and sportspeople may suffer from the condition in later life.
Though this condition isn’t as common as other forms of arthritis, it can pop up out of nowhere. It appears as a side-effect of an infection somewhere else in the body, and targets the hand, knee, ankle and foot joints.
Conjunctivitis can be a common sign of reactive arthritis, as can pain and discomfort when emptying the bladder. By this time, the joints will likely feel inflamed and tender, but it may take the other symptoms to appear before the individual recognises something is wrong and their pain is not just derived from general wear and tear or their lifestyle.
Though this may sound like a separate condition, gout is actually another form of arthritis. Typically affecting the joints in the toes, particularly the big toe, the area becomes inflamed, tender and very painful when the sufferer attempts to walk. Attacks can occur out of the blue, often in the middle of the night, and it can feel as if your toe(s) is on fire. The condition tends to come and go and can often be linked with a fatty diet or over consumption of alcohol. It was said that Henry Vlll suffered with gout, due to his meat-rich, high-cholesterol diet.
What to do if you feel symptoms of arthritis in your feet…
It’s perhaps common sense that weight loss, if you’re carrying some extra pounds, will help alleviate symptoms, as this would result in less pressure on your joints in general. Exercise would likely be hampered by the arthritis, however, which is the challenge.
Taking anti-inflammatories will help to reduce any swelling, and soaking the feet in warm (not ice cold) water may help to alleviate pain if your joints feel like they’re on fire.
Knee braces can help support this joint and using a cane can take some of your weight as you move around. You can also add special supports to your shoes to reinforce and brace your feet. If you’ve been suffering for a prolonged period of time, medical practitioners may suggest injecting steroids into affected areas. Surgery may also be an option.
At Treat Your Feet, we can help relieve the pain of your arthritis through physical therapy and gentle massage/manipulation of your feet. This can boost circulation and help move any build-up of acid further along your bloodstream, which should alleviate the pins and needles feeling sufferers endure.
So, if you’re experiencing arthritic discomfort or pain in your feet or lower limbs, give us a call on 01226 492412 (Wombwell) or 0113 238 0330 (Morley). Alternatively, you can contact us here