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Conditions Affecting the Feet: Osteoarthritis

There are many medical conditions that can affect the feet. This edition of the Reed Medical blog, which focuses on osteoarthritis, is the first in a series of articles looking in more depth at some of these conditions.

Arthritis is a joint disorder characterised by inflammation that causes pain and stiffness: osteoarthritis is just one of over 100 identified types of arthritis. Commonly referred to as 'wear and tear' arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in the joints begins to break down: this can eventually result in bones becoming exposed and rubbing against one another.

Though osteoarthritis affects people of all genders, it is more common in women than men. It can occur at any age though is primarily a condition that affects people over the age of 65. A degenerative disease for which there is currently no cure, osteoarthritis gradually gets worse as time goes on: there are however several treatments that can slow down its progression, easing pain and improving joint function.

Osteoarthritis can affect any of the 33 joints within the feet though usually occurs in the joints at the base of the big toes: the reason for this is that these joints are the most susceptible to damage caused by the pressure of walking. As the cartilage erodes, the ends of the bones can become joined together, a condition called hallux rigidus. Sometimes, the big toes may drift out of position towards the other toes, leading to bunions.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis in the feet can be eased by minimising stress on the joints by wearing well-cushioned, adequately-proportioned footwear. Reed Medical is a specialist supplier of such footwear, all of which can be found on our website.

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