Arthritis

Inflammation of your joints, whether it is one or more, is known as arthritis. The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by proteins, known as autoantibodies, created by the body that attack healthy tissue. Trauma, age, or infection of joints is known as osteoarthritis. These two types of arthritis are not the only types, another form commonly seen in the ankles and feet is gout arthritis in which uric acid causes the formation of crystals in joints. Psoriatic arthritis is another form of arthritis, although it is less common that most as it only affects patients with psoriasis. Arthritis pain can be debilitating, so the first step in arthritis pain relief is determining which form of arthritis you may have.

Picture of Arthritis

colorado foot institute arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis only affects around one percent of the entire world’s population, with women being three times more susceptible than men. This disease is most normally brought on at the age range of 40 to 50, but those of all ages may be affected. X-rays and blood tests can be used to detect rheumatoid arthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis symptoms play a large role in diagnosis. A podiatrist can diagnose and help with long term management of arthritis joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis in the legs and feet. There are a couple different forms of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Out of the various treatments available, physical therapy and occupational therapy are the two treatments used that do not involve medicine. Anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers can provide temporary arthritis relief, however in order to prevent long-term damage the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs may be required in some cases. This form of arthritis is also occasionally seen in adolescents and is commonly referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis)

The onset of osteo-arthritis is brought on by wear-and-tear to cartilage, and may result in the bones grinding directly on each other. This damage to the joints causes restricted movement and pain, and may be caused by normal wear and tear or it can be brought on more quickly due to an infection in the joint or if an individual has suffered a joint injury. Acute pain is the main symptom, causing the onset of stiffness less range of motion in the affected area. Muscles and tendons in the area commonly experience a burning sensation or even a sharp aching pain. Muscle spasms within the tendons along with crackling noise within the joint may also be experienced by a patient who has developed osteoarthritis. Weather can also increase the amount of pain one feels, colder temperatures along with high humidity can increase pain in patients. This type of arthritis mainly affects the weight bearing joints, especially the knees and ankles, however all of the joints are susceptible. One of the main ways to differentiate osteoarthritis from rheumatoid arthritis is that patients with osteoarthritis normally experience more pain the more the affected area is used during the day, however the patient will experience joint swelling, stiffness, and pain just like rheumatoid arthritis patients will.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Redness
  • Swelling

People who have rheumatoid arthritis experience pain, generally those who are experiencing pain have more pain in the morning yet sometimes being reduced with a morning shower. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that can effect the whole body, however, it primarily attacks joints causing them to inflame which can cause the destruction of cartilage. Due to the pivotal role autoimmunities play, rheumatoid arthritis is chronic as well as progressive.

Risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Age. The risk of most types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout, will increases with the age of a patient.
  • Sex. Women are most likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, about a three times greater chance. While most of the population who have been diagnosed with gout are males.
  • Family history. Certain types of arthritis can run in families, so if your parents or siblings, especially a twin sibling has the disorder you may have a higher chance of developing arthritis. This is not truly a genealogical defect, however certain genes might make one more susceptible to some environmental factors that play a role in triggering arthritis.
  • Previous joint injury. Patients who have a prior joint injury, perhaps caused by playing a sport or running on hard surfaces for a prolonged period of time, are more susceptible to joint damage in the knees and ankles leading to arthritis later on.
  • Obesity. Obesity can cause more pressure on joints while participating in every day activities. This can cause joint damage and lead to arthritis over time. Daily exercise, especially low impact exercise, can greatly reduce the onset of arthritis in over weight patients.

Arthritis treatments

There are many different treatments for arthritis which vary by type of arthritis, when it is discovered (the earlier the better), and by the severity of the arthritis.

Arthritis Medication

There are many different medicines that are used to treat arthritis, these generally depend on the type that the patient may have. The medications that are typically used include:

  • Analgesics. These medications help reduce the pain in the joints, but have little to no effect on the inflammation.
  • Counter irritants. This type of medication includes creams and ointments that contain a substance like Capsaicin, camphor or menthol. These ointments can interfere with pain signals being transmitted to the brain but does not stop the damage being done to the joints.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs reduce the inflammation and pain within the joints. These drugs can come in the form of pills and creams but some can increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes in some patience.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs are most often prescribed to patients with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs can slow or stop a patients immune system from causing further damage to the patients joints.
  • Corticosteroids. This drug suppresses the immune system and reduces the inflammation in joints. Corticosteroids may be injected in the area affected or taken orally by a patient.
  • Therapy. Physical therapy can improve range of motion in some areas while strengthening muscles surrounding the effected joints. In other cases braces and splints might be used to reduce damage from the loss of cartilage.
  • Surgery. Surgery may be recommended if the use of other treatment options have little or no effect.

Let Us Help You

Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive RearFoot and Ankle Surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four (24) month post-graduate Residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Mechanik further advanced his surgical training when he completed his twenty-four (24) month Fellowship program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.   During his fellowship, Dr. Mechanik worked side by side with an orthopedic surgeon, where he tackled the most complex and challenging foot and ankle conditions and surgeries.

Dr. Mechanik is dual Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is one of the few podiatrist in the United States with his extensive training.  Dr. Mechanik sees patients from all over Colorado, the United States, and Internationally.  Dr. Mechanik treats adult and pediatric foot and ankle conditions.

The Colorado Foot Institute and Dr. Mechanik’s practice is exclusively limited to treating conditions of the foot and ankle.  Dr. Mechanik personally sees and follow all his patients from start to finish.

With his expertise in foot care, Dr. Mechanik can help treat your pain and stiffness, to help you back on your road to recovery.  Dr. Mechanik warmly extends his services to patients suffering from foot and or ankle conditions.  You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 303-333-3383.