Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted longer than three to six months, or “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing”.
Complete and sustained remission of many chronic pain cases can be difficult to achieve, however much can be done to reduce suffering and improve quality of life. Pain management is an interdisciplinary approach to the relief of pain and improvement in the quality of life of those living with chronic pain. The typical pain management team may include your GP, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist and of course your Podiatrist.
Arthritis is a broad term given for a group of conditions affecting the joints. Because your feet carry you around all day, allow you to run and jump, to climb stairs and walk on uneven surfaces, they are susceptible to pain and injury. There are many small joints in your feet which take enormous pressure each day, and are unfortunately prone to developing arthritis.
Common types of arthritis that can affect your feet are:
- Osteoarthritis, or ‘wear and tear’ arthritis – commonly hallux rigidus or hallux valgus (bunions) resulting in arthritis of big toe joint; ankle arthritis; midfoot arthritis. This form of arthritis is considered mechanical arthritis – due to the abnormal pressure and force placed on the joints during work/sporting life etc. Osteoarthritis pain can be managed by supporting the affected joints and getting them to function more correctly.
- Inflammatory arthropathies such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis, is considered a more systemic group of arthritis which can affect other organs as well as causing joint pain, swelling and deformity. These conditions need to be managed closely by your Doctor, but improvements can also be seen by supporting, cushioning, off-loading pressure etc. from the affected joints in the feet.
- Gout caused by an excess of uric acid in the joints, often affects the big toe joint.
Arthritic symptoms will depend on the type of arthritis you have. Some affect small joints in the body while others may target the larger joints. Pain, stiffness and swelling of the affected joints however are always common features.
The problem with chronic pain and arthritis is that it is easy to become accustomed to it. There are many people who live with pain unnecessarily. At first it may be agonising, but after a while your body will work out ways to avoid it. You become accustomed to your limp, your inability to perform certain tasks and the chronic pain slowly deteriorates your quality of life.
It is important to see your podiatrist if you suffer from any form of chronic pain or arthritis in your feet and lower limbs. At Foundation Podiatry we use simple, effective techniques and devices to encourage the body to effectively manage daily demands and increase its capacity to do more. With a thorough, personalised assessment and treatment plan we can help you better manage your symptoms, possibly slow the disease progression and improve your quality of life.
Don’t put up with chronic pain any longer – give Foundation Podiatry a call today!
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