Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. It affects people of all ages, including children and in the UK, around 10 million people are affected. The most common types are:
Osteoarthritis often develops in adults who are in their late 40s or older. It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition. It initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder which leads to swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes.
In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old and affects women more than men. It occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first place affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape. This may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.
The symptoms you experience will vary depending on the type you have. This is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis if you have:
> joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
> inflammation in and around the joints
> restricted movement of the joints
> warm, red skin over the affected joint
> weakness and muscle wasting
There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow down the condition. Your GP will discuss your specific treatments needs which may include medication. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow down the condition’s progress and minimise joint inflammation or swelling. To complement this, at David Brown Podiatry we aim to treat the effects of arthritis on your lower limb and consider preventative measures to reduce your risk of further complications.