Osteoarthritis is also termed degenerative joint disease (DJD) and is the most common types of arthritis
Symptoms of osteoarthritis as most arthritisís are very painful swollen joints with stiffness. Usually with osteoarthritis the pain is only with activity and attempted motion of the joints. Usually there is no pain before the activity or after. Sometimes as the joint is put through its motion you will feel or hear a ginding sound or sensation called crepitus.
Causes of osteoarthritis is mostly trauma induced including long term wear and tear from repetitive stresses. This wear and tear may be due to misaligned joint structures from congenital (the way you were born) or from aquired causes (bunion or fractured bone). Joints are covered by tissue called cartilage, if this is destroyed in any fashion osteoarthritis may begin. Previous joint infection can cause damage to the cartilage. Typically there is first a there is a fissure or crack in the cartilage, followed with a thinning of the cartilage and narrowing of the joint space. As there is more bone on bone contact, the bone responds to this pressure by forming new bone called osteophytes. Osteophytes form bone spurs or exostosis and can even fuse two bones to become one. Osteoarthritis is one of the main causes of pain in Bunions, Hallux Limitus and Hallux Rigidus.
Prevention is aimed at detecting joint damage early to prevent further destruction. Surgery to prevent malalignment of the bone structure can be preventative.
Diagnosis is first by clinical suspicion of symptoms. A through examination of the joint is completed and usually your doctor will order x-rays to evaluate the joint structure. Cartilage is not seen on x-ray but bone changes can be detected. Early in the disease process there may be very little signs of osteoarthritis on an x-ray.
Podiatric Care may include using anti-inflammatory oral medications or an injection of medication and local anesthetic to reduce this swelling in the area of the affected joint. When you go to your doctor, x-rays are usually required to evaluate the structure of your foot and ankle to ensure no other problems exist in this area. If a bone prominence is formed padding techniques or orthotics may be utilized to control the foot structure. Physical therapy modalities may be utilized to reduce stiffness and keep the joints mobile.