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Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease

Written By: Kirk Koepsel Editor, PodiatryNetwork.com


General Discussion:

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It has been estimated that over 40 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis in the hands and feet. Osteoarthritis is a noninflamatory progressive disorder of movable joints. The weight bearing joints of the feet are particularly affected. The most common cause of osteoarthritis in the feet is due to abnormal foot function. Over years of abnormal movement within a joint jamming of the joint will cause cartilage damage and the formation of bony over growth about the joint.

Osteoarthritis can also be caused by trauma resulting in fracture and/or joint dislocation. If a bone fracture enters a joint or causes deviation of a joint osteoarthritis is likely to ensue over time. In the event of trauma resulting in fracture or dislocation of a joint every effort should be made to return the bones and joints involved as close as possible to normal anatomical alignment. This often requires surgical intervention.

Common areas in the foot affected by degenerative arthritis not associated with acute trauma are the big toe joint and the midfoot area of the foot. Treatment for these conditions may include the use of a special insert for the shoes called orthotics and possibly surgery.

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