The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

May Is National Arthritis Month: NY Podiatrists Share Facts About the Condition

Posted by on Monday, May 12th, 2014

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Joyce Dewick suffers from hereditary osteoarthritis in her right foot and her hips. Though she had both knee joints replaced, her mobility is still limited, depending on the day. “It’s the quality of my life which bothers me,” she told the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre in Nottingham, England. “Some days I can hardly walk with my foot,” she added.

“At the moment, my foot… is not bothering me, and it won’t bother me for ages. Then, all of a sudden, I get the most chronic pain, and sometimes it practically brings tears.” The arthritis is getting worse, but she isn’t sure what to do, because using a walking stick only causes biomechanical problems in other areas, like her hips.

Joyce is one of many people who suffer from arthritis worldwide. New York podiatrists from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine weigh in on arthritic foot care tips for National Arthritis Month.

arthritis awareness
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month.
Image Source: Shellpoint.org

Who Gets Foot Arthritis?

What do you picture when you hear the word “arthritis” — an elderly person? Most people imagine that chronic joint inflammation is just something that comes along with old age. In fact, arthritis is a very broad condition that could pertain to more than 100 different conditions, from stiffness and swelling, to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

As we’ve previously examined, one in six adults over 50 have some form of foot arthritis. Juvenile arthritis is a hereditary autoimmune disease affecting a quarter of a million children. Researchers have linked the condition to more than a dozen genes. Did you know that nearly three out of five people with arthritis are under age 65?

Young athletes and physically active adults can develop arthritis when sports injuries are not treated properly. Your chances of developing arthritis is seven times greater if you have damaged a joint in the past, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Fracture and dislocation injuries frequently lead to arthritis when malalignment causes increased pressure and cartilage wear. Up to 50% of people who received this type of injury may develop arthritis if the joints do not heal properly. Since there are so many different types of surgical procedures used to treat sports injuries, it’s important that you find a podiatric surgeon who is very experienced. Dr. Geldwert from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York has performed numerous successful ankle replacement surgeries, for example.

arthritis demographics
Foot arthritis can affect the young, as well as the old.
Image Source: MCHB.HRSA.gov

Can Arthritis Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, arthritis cannot always be prevented. Hereditary factors are obviously beyond one’s control. However, there are many other risk factors that can be controlled. Dr. Eric Munn of Hinsdale Adventist Hospital told the Chicago Tribune that nearly everyone over 70 shows some signs of osteoarthritis, but “a healthy lifestyle” can sometimes prevent people from ever feeling the stiffness, pain, or swelling typically associated with the disease. Here are a few important steps a patient can take to stop the worsening of arthritis or prevent symptoms from slowing him or her down:

– Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on your joints.

– Eat plant-based, anti-inflammatory foods. Fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential.

– Enjoy low-impact exercises like swimming, biking and elliptical trainer workouts.

– Warm up and stretch every day to improve range of motion and muscle tone.

– Drink at least eight cups of water a day. Water makes up 70% of the cartilage in your joints.

pilates training
NY sports medicine doctors help you stay active, despite arthritis.
Image Source: Flickr user familymwr

How Is Ankle & Foot Arthritis Treated by NY Sports Medicine Doctors?

If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis in the foot and ankle near the NYC metro area, we invite you to book an appointment online with The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. We have two offices — one in Westchester and one in Manhattan. Arthritis treatment options range from ligament repair, cartilage reconstruction, and stem cell therapy, to joint preservation, physical therapy and total ankle replacement.

According to Dr. Geldwert: “The benefit of seeing a sports medicine doctor is that we focus on total body biomechanics. We want to prevent you from wearing out other parts of the body because you’re overcompensating for an arthritic joint. We also gear your recovery toward enabling you to have a good quality of life and continue the physical activities you most enjoy, rather than simply telling you to give it all up.”

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.