Posts for: October, 2016
Hallux valgus may sound like a complicated, rare disease or a spell from the Harry Potter universe, but it's actually another name for bunions, a common foot disorder.
If your podiatrist has diagnosed you with hallux valgus, you may be a little taken aback. Don't worry,Â that's just a long name for a common foot disorderÂ also known as a bunion. The hallux is better known as your big toe, and "valgus" means bent or twisted. These two words together describe exactly what a bunion isÂ your big toe bent toward your other toes. Moving on to your next possible concerns: why does this problem exist and how can it be treated or prevented?
Hallux Valgus 101
Bunions form due to pressure on the two joints of the big toe. This toe becomes angled unnaturally inward and the bunion is the resulting deformity of the bone. Contrary to popular belief, they are not tumors or cysts. Bunions can present with pain, swelling, and increasingly limited range of motion.
Experts are divided on the cause of bunions: some believe that they are genetic, while others place the blame on years of wearing shoes that crowd the toes. In either case, shoes are thought to worsen hallux valgus deformities over time if they put pressure on the toes or contort the feet into abnormal positions. Since women's footwear is generally more narrow and confining than men's, bunions occur more often in them. While arthritis does not necessarily cause bunions, the joint inflammation can worsen them.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend nonÂsurgical options first. You should ensure that your shoes are comfortable and fit properly. Specialty shoe store employees can take measurements of your foot and recommend the best size. Shoe inserts or arch supports can be used to redistribute your weight and relax the muscles. For pain, overÂtheÂcounter analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen are recommended.
If you continue you to have problems, surgery to remove some of the bone or surrounding tissue to straighten the foot back into position. A change in the shape of your foot or the way your shoes fit warrants a call to your podiatrist for evaluation.
Find out how to manage chronic arthritic symptoms to keep you on your toes!
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1 percent of the population, mostly affecting women between the ages of 40 to 60. If you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis then you probably are looking for answers regarding your condition and what you can do to improve the health of your feet.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
This chronic, autoimmune disorder targets joints anywhere on the body, but mostly the hands and feet. Approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with this form of arthritis will develop foot or ankle symptoms at some point during the course of their disease.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Since this is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system actually attacks your body’s own tissue, causing inflammation and swelling of the joints. Those with rheumatoid arthritis also experience pain and stiffness in the feet and hands. While other forms of arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis) only affect one joint, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the exact same joints in both feet.
Different deformities (e.g. bunions; claw toes) and other problems may also develop, depending on what foot joint the rheumatoid arthritis inflicts.
What are the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis?
While there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are a variety of treatment options available to our patients to help reduce their symptoms and keep them living full, active lives. Certain medications can be prescribed to stop the immune system from attacking the joints.
Here are the most common types of orthopedic treatment options we recommend; however, remember that these treatments will not slow down or stop how the disease progresses, but it will help you to manage your symptoms:
Rest: This means reducing any movements or actions that make your rheumatoid arthritis pain worse. If you are naturally an active person, you may want to opt for lowimpact activities like swimming, which takes pressure and impact off the joints in the foot.
Antiinflammatories: Certain overthecounter antiinflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and inflammation. However, if your symptoms are severe then it might be time to talk to your podiatrist about prescribed pain relievers.
Icing: Apply an ice pack to the swollen, stiff joints for about 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day. Icing can be particularly effective after you have finished any kind of physical activity.
Orthotics: If you experience a lot of issues walking or find that certain parts of your feet ache, then it might not be a bad idea to talk to your podiatrist about customized shoe inserts that can help correct foot deformities and take pressure off certain areas of your feet.
If there is severe joint damage, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the issue. There are different types of foot surgeries to accommodate different rheumatoid arthritis issues and your podiatrist would be happy to sit down and discuss your surgical options.
If you have any questions about rheumatoid arthritis, call your podiatrist today!