What is it?
OA is the most common form of arthritis. It is understood to be a form of degeneration within a joint, which is caused from mechanical stress. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, stiffness and mild swelling. The pain is often described as a sharp ache.
OA can affect all areas of the body including the feet, hands, knees, hips and spine. The joints can change shape, often becoming enlarged. In the feet, it contributes to the formation of bunions. Diagnosis is based on history and clinical examination. X-ray can assist in the diagnosis.
How is it treated?
Lifestyle changes are important in the management of osteoarthritis, such as loosing weight. Paracetamol is the recommended first line medication. Tailored exercise programs can improve function and pain for OA in the hip and knee. The use of physical therapies such as dry needling and low level laser therapy can reduce localised pain and swelling. Orthotic therapy can be useful to provide cushioning and offloading of painful joints in the feet. Different orthotic wedging can also affect knee and hip osteoarthritis. Your podiatrist will also recommend footwear to assist with foot deformity caused by osteoarthritis and improve function.
Other treatment options include;
- Steroid injections
- Pain medication
- Surgery for which can be discussed with your podiatrist