Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the breakdown and loss of cartilage in one or more joints. Cartilage—the connective tissue found at the end of the bones in the joints—protects and cushions the bones during movement. When cartilage deteriorates or is lost, symptoms develop that restrict one’s ability to easily perform daily activities.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans. Many people refer to osteoarthritis simply as arthritis, even though there are more than 100 different types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis appears at various joints throughout the body, including the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. In the foot, the disease most frequently occurs in the big toe, although it is also often found in the midfoot and ankle.
People with osteoarthritis in the foot or ankle experience, in varying degrees, one or more of the following:
- Pain and stiffness in the joint
- Swelling in or near the joint
- Difficulty walking or bending the joint
Some patients with osteoarthritis also develop a bone spur (a bony protrusion) at the affected joint. Shoe pressure may cause pain at the site of a bone spur, and in some cases blisters or calluses may form over its surface. Bone spurs can also limit the movement of the joint.
Osteoarthritis is considered a “wear and tear” disease because the cartilage in the joint wears down with repeated stress and use over time. As the cartilage deteriorates and gets thinner, the bones lose their protective covering and eventually may rub together, causing pain and inflammation of the joint.
If you suffer from arthritis, we invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly foot and ankle physicians sometime soon. You’ll find a tab to request an appointment and the phone number for our clinic conveniently located at the top of this page to get you started. We have convenient hours and always have same-day appointments available for those with immediate care needs.