Arthritis is a disease that can affect any joint in your body. Wrists, fingers, knees, and shoulders are typically affected, as well as feet. Each of your feet has 33 joints and any of them can be stricken with the pain and swelling of arthritis.

During this month of May, which is Arthritis Awareness Month, let’s take a look at some of the kinds of arthritis that can affect your feet and ankles:

Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting almost 30 million Americans. When OA strikes in the foot, it’s most often in the big toe. OA is a breaking down of the protective cartilage between the bones of a joint. When there’s little or no protection, it causes pain and problems moving that joint. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, bones rub against other bones causing even more pain and stiffness. The older you are, the more miles you’ve put on your joints and the more likely you are to develop OA.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

While OA is a breaking down of joint cartilage caused by wear and tear over time, RA is an inflammation of the lining of the joints caused by an autoimmune response. The cause of this abnormal immune response isn’t terribly clear, even though 1.5 million people in the U.S. have it. When RA affects your feet, it can lead to deformity of the toes, including claw toe – when the toes bend unnaturally, either upward or downward.

Gout Gout is a specific kind of arthritis of the big toe characterized by sudden, excruciating pain and redness in the big toe that last for several hours. It’s usually diet-related and can be avoided with dietary changes and increasing the intake of fluids.

These are only three of the over 100 different forms of arthritis that exist. Others include juvenile, psoriatic, and reactive arthritis – all of which can affect the various joints in your feet. Arthritis is no stranger to the joints of the ankle as well. When arthritis of your foot, toe, or ankle slows you down, you can count on Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center to expertly diagnose and treat your symptoms. Dr. Wilhelm is board-certified in both foot and ankle surgery and has experience with both ankle fusion and ankle reconstructive surgery.

If arthritis in your lower limbs is interfering with your enjoyment of life, give us a call at our office in Centreville, VA at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.

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