Arthritis and feet:

-How to avoid pain and get more energy in your everyday life.

Physical pain somewhere in your body may be the reason you lack energy and well-being – and when you lack energy, you might not feel very happy. Arthritis patients live with daily pain and many of them will have tried many different approaches, products and exercises in an attempt to eliminate pain. Although you suffer from arthritis, you can still live a good life. On this page, you can read about what arthritis actually is and what you can do to ease the symptoms and pain, and slow down development of the disease.
As a sufferer, you will tend to experience pain in connection with osteoarthritis and may have the following symptoms (symptoms may vary in intensity):
– pain
– stiffness
– swelling (possible redness and warmth)
– restricted freedom of movement
– incorrect posture
– instability
– lack of function
– a “strange sound” from your joints when moving

Pain is experienced primarily by the load and usually follow the classic three stages:
– Pain/stiffness in the morning
– Less pain once you are up and about and the joints are warm
– Increased pain in connection with sustained load.

What is arthritis?

Degenerative arthritis – or osteoarthritis – is defined as changes in and slow destruction of cartilage and bone tissue in and around the joints in your body. Joint cartilage usually has a smooth surface. Healthy cartilege transmits and evenly distributes pressure between the bones. In case of osteoarthritis, the cartilage is gradually degraded and becomes increasingly rough on the surface. Cracks and crevices in the cartilage and reduced cartilege thickness may occur. In the first stages of osteoarthritis, you will often experience no discomfort or pain. As degradation escalating escalates, you may feel the joint “crunching” and experience pain due to the increased load on your bones. The increased load may also cause changes in the bony parts of the joint.
The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are those in the hands and feet, knee, hip and spine.
As for arthritis, your feet and ankles will often be affected. In particular, the toes, hind foot and ankle (in that order) are exposed, but any and all of the foot joints may become affected. Arthritis of the foot most often starts in the big toe, i.e. the joint between the inner toe bone and outer metatarsal.
Osteoarthritis of the foot is most often the result of injury, e.g. bone fracture and breakage, incorrect position, instability or inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis and similar complaints will often affect the knee and hip.

What causes osteoarthritis and arthritis?

Osteoarthritis has many causes. Osteoarthritis may have no relation to wear and physically hard work. Certain professions are, however, more vulnerable than others e.g. sheep farmers often suffer from osteoarthritis of the hip, dancers in the ankle and athletes tend to develop osteoarthritis of the knees and ankles. The reason is that these specific groups continually put a heavy burden on specific parts of their bodies.

Your weight may also affect your risk of developing osteoarthritis. The more you weigh, the more strain on your joints. A 5% weight loss helps to reduce pain and improve mobility. Heredity is also a factor to consider if you are wondering whether or not you are at risk of developing arthritis. Genetics may mean that collagen (a protein) in your cartilage is not as strong as it should be. Your cartilage will degrade faster than normal and your joints will gradually become osteoarthritic.

Inactivity and lack of muscular exercise may also be a contributory cause of osteoarthritis. A weak muscle is not capable of stabilising the joint and the joint will therefore be under more strain. Mild and even severe cases of osteoarthritis can be prevented through exercise. Exercise strengthens the muscles around the exposed joints. Exercise improves your mobility and flexibility. Physical activity improves joint function and reduces pain.

Do I have osteoarthritis?

If you suspect that you have arthritis, seek medical attention. There are a number of symptoms that  confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis. It is not always necessary to X-ray. Studies show that excessive use of X-rays is potentially harmful and the images produced cannot always be counted on to confirm the extent and severity of the disease. Some patients experience severe pain even though their osteoarthritis is not widespread. In many cases, X-ray images will only be used and useful prior to surgery.

Treatment in connection with osteoarthritis?

In general, osteoarthritis of the foot cannot be cured or removed surgically. Your focus should therefore be on relief and prevention.
Symptoms can often be relieved by means of the following:

• An important part of the overall treatment, particularly in case of a misaligned hind foot or toes, is podiatric treatment. Always wear good shoes that give your feet ample space and support, and consider wearing insoles. It is important that the shoe fits perfectly so that your foot is stable. It is also important that your shoes have effective cushioning. Make sure your toes have room to move and that the insole supports the particularly pressure-sensitive parts of the foot. You will often need to make regular visits to your chiropodist to have redundant and often painful calluses removed.

• Chiropractic and physiotherapy therapies are recommended in order to maintain and/or improve joint mobility and function. Therapy can also delay the onset of further symptoms. Your therapist will give you detailed instructions about precautions you can take and exercises you can do to maintain functional capacity (to move and strengthen the muscles).

• Painkillers – please see your doctor about this.

• In case of very severe osteoarthritis, surgery may be necessary.

• If the joint is swollen due to fluids, it can be drained. A small amount of corticosteroids is then injected to prevent the fluid from restoring itself. Only a physician can perform this operation.

• In case of osteoarthritis of the knee, a surgical procedure to purge and smooth jagged cartilage may bring pain relief for several months.

• If you feel pain day and night, at rest, in the morning ordue to overloading and the non-surgical treatment approaches have failed, surgery to insert a joint  prosthesis is an option, e.g. in the hip, knee, shoulder and fingers. Joints can also be surgically fused to alleviate pain and pressure.

What can you do?

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but you can do a lot to relieve the pain and keep the disease at a low level:
• It is important to maintain free movement of your joints and strengthen your muscles. Osteoarthritic is usually accompanied by reduced mobility and weak muscle strength. These symptoms tend to restrict functional ability in your everyday life. Whether you suffer from osteoarthritis to a mild or severe degree, exercise is always a great idea. Daily exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints and ensures that you can live an active life for as long as possible. Physical activity improves the joint function and reduces pain.
• When you have arthritis, your diet may have an impact on your well-being. It is important to eat a healthy and varied diet. A good diet provides important nutrients. There are many recipe books on the market with recipes specifically for arthritis sufferers – these recipe books contain recipes and advice to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

If you have any of following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:
• One or more of your joints are swollen, red or really sore
• Your symptoms change
• New symptoms occur
• You have problems with your medicines, e.g. side effects or practical problems
• You need more painkillers and/or medication than before
If you suffer from arthritis in your feet, you must expect the condition of your feet to change, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. To keep your feet comfortable, regular visits to a podiatrist are recommended.

How do you obtain relief?

You can change the loads expecially on the ankles, knees, hips and spine by focusing on achieving a correct posture. When your feet and ankles are in aligned in the natural position, your knees, hips and shoulders are also correctly aligned. In many cases, correct alignment of your feet and body will in itself result in good pain relief. When your body is aligned, you avoid excessive pressure on the muscles, joints, bones and tendons as your body weight is optimally balanced. By avoiding conventional pads, wedges and arch supports, you will provide a healthy movement of the muscles under your foot. Your feet move more naturally so all the foot muscles are used, which also strengthens e.g. a sunken forefoot.

Modern footwear often has a flat bottom and heel, which means that you do not use your feet correctly. The feet are trapped inside your shoes and will sooner or later cause you problems, e.g. weak muscles in the legs. The joints may also be loaded incorrectly, increasing the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Wear shock-absorbing shoes or insoles with soft, springy base. Are you going to go for a longer trip/walk? You should choose to walk on a soft surface, such as a forest path, in preference to an asphalt road…

And how do Align Footwear® insoles help?

Align Footwear® insoles cannot cure arthritis – but they can help to relieve pain. The insoles align your body and ease the pressure on your muscles and joints and give you less pain throughout your body.
Try Align Footwear® insoles. They encourage your body to use its muscles correctly. Better muscular function relieves pressure and stress on the leg joints through the spine and all the way up to your neck.
Align Footwear® insoles are unique. There is no artificial arch under the foot. Align Footwear® insoles help control the ankle in order to maximize the body’s potential and use the muscles under the foot exactly as they were created to. We have customers who walk and stand for more than 10 hours a day. They tell us that, having worn the Align Footwear® insoles for some time, they have either very little or no pain. This also applies to people with arthritis. These endorsements and much more (e.g. FAQs) can be found on our webshop: www.alignfootwear.uk.
Why not give Align Footwear® insoles a chance? Try our Align Footwear® insoles and feel the effect on your body. You can try out the insoles for up to 60 days. If you do not feel a positive effect, simply return the insoles to us – and we will refund your money in full.

When the foot receives optimal support, we retain full mobility in our muscles and tendons. This is not something that can be achieved by building a support under the foot or incorporating a compression pad or an artificial arch support. Using the world-patented triplanar points, Align Footwear® insoles help to give you a sense of well-being. Align Footwear® insoles distribute body weight more evenly and spread the load on your feet.
Align Footwear® insoles enhance movement, comfort and performance. They promote better posture and body alignment in your kinetic chain and improve your health and well-being. When your body moves correctly in the natural position, the load of every step you take will be more evenly distributed. Our insoles reduce destructive shock waves throughout your body every time your feet hit the ground. This means less pressure and possible inflammation of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

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