Joint Ventures: Life with wear and tear
I bet all of us are familiar with the condition… known as good old: ‘wear and tear’. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disorder affecting millions of people worldwide, particularly as we age.
It’s a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the cartilage, the silvery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other. In OA, the cartilage breaks down and wears away leading to pain, swelling and reduced joint mobility. As the condition progresses, bone spurs (extra bony growths) may form around the joint.
OA can affect any joint in the body, including the joints in the feet. Many people with OA report that their joint pain is worse in the evening and at night leading to disrupted sleep patterns.
Usual symptoms include joint pain especially after activity, stiffness of joints especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity and swelling of joints. A person can also experience reduced range of motion where it becomes harder to move the joint fully.
Causes of OA
- Age: The risk of OA increases with age.
- Obesity: Excess body weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints, like those in the feet.
- Injury: Previous surgeries and injuries are a risk factor for an increased incidence of OA.
- Trauma: Even after the initial injury heals, the joint might not function as smoothly as before, leading to accelerated wear and tear of the cartilage.
- Genetics: Some people might be genetically predisposed to develop OA.
- Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive stress on certain joints can contribute to OA.
Regular exercise is a great solution to manage OA. Low-impact activities like swimming and walking are often recommended. Avoiding excessive stress on joints especially during high impact sports or heavy lifting is optimal. Some people wear prescription orthoses which support the foot joints placing the foot and ankle in an energy efficient position.
Fact: Healthy joints are incredibly efficient. The surface of a joint if smooth, can reduce friction to less than 1/100th of what it would be like on ice.
Types of osteoarthritis
A healthcare provider might classify OA as one of two types:
- Primary OA is the most common form of osteoarthritis that develops in your joints over time. Experts think it’s usually caused by normal wear and tear of using your joints throughout your life.
- Secondary OA happens when something directly damages one of your joints enough to cause osteoarthritis. Injuries and traumas are common causes of secondary osteoarthritis. Other types of arthritis can damage the cartilage in your joints enough to cause OA, too.
OA is a degenerative disease that worsens over time, often resulting in chronic pain. Joint pain and stiffness can become severe enough to make daily tasks difficult.
Depression and sleep disturbances can result from the pain and disability of OA.
Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main difference between OA and rheumatoid arthritis is the cause behind the joint symptoms. OA is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints.
Are you suffering from any foot condition? At The Chelsea Clinic, we can help. One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatments are best to get you back on track. Podiatrist South Kensington
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at +44 (0) 207 101 4000.
We hope you have a feetastic day!
-The Chelsea Clinic and Team