Arthritis, a disease generally characterized by inflammation and damage to a body’s joints, attacks cartilage, joint linings, bones, and connective tissues such as ligaments. Arthritis can occur in any joint and takes away normal pain-free function. Since each foot has 26 bones and over 30 joints, the foot and ankle are major targets for arthritis. At least half of Americans over age 60 have arthritis of the foot and/or ankle. There are two main types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as wear and tear arthritis because of the gradual wearing out of the joint cartilage that comes with age. Motion becomes more difficult and painful and joints can become stiff after periods of inactivity. Traumatic osteoarthritis is a result of an old injury such as a broken bone. Sometimes these old injuries can result in arthritis years later even if the injured joint received proper medical attention.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that can cause deformities of the joints and general fatigue. This chronic condition usually affects more than one joint and sometimes affects all the joints in the body. Bunions, hammertoes, claw toes, and deformities of the forefoot and midfoot are common conditions.
Arthritic feet are often thin and bony with little natural padding. Proper shoes include high levels of ABZORB cushioning in the footbed to disperse the shock, are soft and flexible, and have a wider forefoot that provides extra room.
For greater help, a carbon graphite foot plate has a ultra-thin rigid plates that limit the flexing motion in the toes and forefoot. Socks can offer additional padding and protection.