Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease that causes pain and disability in mainly the older population. There are two different types of OA, primary and secondary. Primary OA is idiopathic however secondary OA can form due to many reasons, with the most common being “wear and tear of the joint” causing join space narrowing. Furthermore, age and sex is a risk factor as 10 % of men and 18% of women over 60 years of age are affected (Glyn-Jones et al., 2015). In addition, age can reduce the self-repair ability of the joints leaving the victim with less cartilage. The common symptoms of OA are joint stiffness, pain and dull aches. This can influence foot health due to having poor biomechanics; foot pain and inability to self-treat due to lack of joint motion. OA in relation to podiatry can affect the big toe joint, mid foot, ankle and the knee.
Fig1. This chart illustrates the risk factors associated with OA (Johnson, & Hunter, 2014)
Based on figure 1 the chart shows the modifiable and non-modifiable factors in associated to OA. By treating these modifiable factors, the onset and progression of OA can be controlled, with obesity and previous injury having the most evidence (Johnson, & Hunter, 2014). Acute injuries can be caused by sudden events whilst chronic can be due to repetitive micro-traumas due to biomechanical abnormalities. Due to this trauma this would increase inflammatory mediators and cause pain.
Seeing a podiatrist can help alleviate any joint pains caused by osteoarthritis. We aim to improve your quality of life by offloading any join pain whether it is with footwear modifications, 3D custom insoles or training modifications. With proper education and treatment we aim to slow down the progression of pain in the future.