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Arthritis Awareness Month: Osteoarthritis of the Feet and Ankles

If you’re part of the “me” generation, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you’re experiencing “de”-generation in your joints. Grown-up baby boomers, who are ages 55 and up, have been on the planet long enough that their joints may be starting to deteriorate. That deterioration is called osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis means that the cartilage that prevents bones from rubbing against each other simply wears down. Eventually, the protective cartilage may disappear altogether. As the amount of protective tissue decreases, the number of joint pain increases.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

Pain in your joints is one of the telltale signs of arthritis. Some other symptoms are swelling, redness around the joint, and difficulty moving the joint (stiffness).

How to treat it

Osteoarthritis of the feet and ankles is very common, especially in the big toe. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, a board-certified podiatrist at Fairfax County’s Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, has years of experience helping patients get relief from joint pain. Here are some approaches:

  • Get moving. Inactivity can actually make your joint pain worse. When you exercise, the muscles surrounding your joints become stronger. Muscles play a role in supporting the joints and relieving pain. Furthermore, exercise helps you keep off the extra weight that contributes to stress on your foot and ankle joints. Perform activities that are easy on your joints such as walking and swimming.
  • Get physical therapy. A physical therapist can do a great job of targeting the areas that need strengthening the most.  He or she can also help you improve the range of motion in the affected joints.
  • Get fit for custom orthotics. We can create orthotic inserts specifically designed to relieve arthritis pain. They are custom-fit to your foot and your particular problem.
  • Get some medicine. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen will help reduce swelling and minimize pain. Dr. Wilhelm can also prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory meds if needed.

 

The “me generation” is said to have been focused on themselves and their needs. And that’s fine with us. We encourage you to focus on relieving the pain of degenerative arthritis in your feet and ankles by calling Dr. Wilhelm in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000. You can also make an appointment online.

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