OK, bear with us here. They are similar in that when someone mentions either, you most likely conjure one image in your mind of what it is. However, that’s not the whole story. The ice cream you picture could be soft serve, hard, chocolate, vanilla, in a bowl, in a cone—there are many forms that fall under the same umbrella. Likewise, even in a specific location such as the foot, one person’s arthritis can vary widely from that of another.
Osteoarthritis is likely the form most people will initially think of when hearing “arthritis” in general. This is when the cartilage protecting a joint becomes worn and frayed through a mechanical breaking down over time. Although it is more common in older individuals, it can also be found in those who are younger.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not mechanical in nature, but actually classified as an autoimmune disease. The body’s own immune system goes haywire and attacks the protective layers surrounding a joint. This causes swelling and eventually damage to the surrounding bone and cartilage. Tendons and ligaments can also be attacked and harmed.
Gout is also a form of arthritis in the feet—most often the big toe—although it can also be found elsewhere now and then. Gout is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals around a joint. These sharp, needle-like formations can cause intense pain and inflammation, often in the form of a sudden “flare” at night.
These are more common forms of arthritis in the feet, but even more exist. If you are experiencing joint pain, don’t just chalk it up as part of life. Schedule an appointment with Bloomington podiatrist Kevin Powers instead. Knowing the causes behind your discomfort can open the way to more effective treatment and pain management. Call our office at (812) 333-4422 to take your first steps toward relief.