The short answer is yes and no. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and here at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers we want to take this opportunity to share some information about a disease that can have serious consequences for the health of your feet and ankles.
It’s important to know that the term “arthritis” doesn’t refer to just one condition. There are over 100 disorders that cause joint pain and disease that fall under the umbrella term arthritis. Each of our feet has 33 joints that can be affected by joint pain. The joints in your feet and ankles are particularly at risk because they carry the weight of your entire body. It’s estimated that approximately 54 million adults and 300,000 children have arthritis. In fact, it’s the number one cause of disability in our country.
Given the devastating effects of arthritis on your feet (and the rest of your body), it’s important to do everything you can to prevent joint disease.
Factors You Can’t Change—there are some risk factors that you cannot alter. These include:
- Age—degenerative types of arthritis, such as Osteoarthritis, are more common in people age 50 and over.
- Heredity or genetics—the predisposition for developing certain types of arthritis can be passed down.
- Sex and ethnicity.
Factors You Can Change—the good news, however, is that there are several lifestyle choices you can make that will help lower your risk of arthritic conditions.
Weight—being overweight increases the strain on your joints and your chances for developing joint disease.
Exercise—regular exercise keeps joints flexible and has been shown to reduce the risk of arthritis.
Safety—arthritis frequently sets into joints that have sustained a previous injury. Wear the proper shoes and observe safe practices for sports, driving and household maintenance tasks.
Being Vigilant—arthritis is best treated in its earliest stages. Too often, older people don’t speak to their doctors about joint pain and stiffness because they believe it is “normal” for their stage of life. Younger patients may not even think that arthritis is a possible diagnosis for them. At the first signs of joint pain, stiffness, swelling or a decreased range of motion, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office. Our podiatrists Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. Adam Thompson will evaluate your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment to ensure that you can continue to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle for years to come.