Tag Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

10 things you need to know about Arthritis…

Arthritis

Arthritis means inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It is a ‘blanket term’ and describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.

There are three main types, but of course, there are many, many more.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly nine million people in this country, and is more common over forty years of age, and in women.

Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees, but can manifest in any synovial joint, as they are lined with cartilage.

With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. The These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.

As OA advances, the changes in the underlying bone can mean that it breaks through the degenerating cartilage, forming osteophytes, resulting in bone resting on bone, increaing pain and further reducing mobility, as muscles, tendons and ligaments need to work harder to orovide the same movement.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA affects around 400,000 people in the UK, and usually starts between forty and fifty years old.

RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness).

RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

 

Gout

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. It usually affects one joint at a time (often the big toe joint). There are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when there are no symptoms, known as remission. Repeated bouts of gout can lead to gouty arthritis, a worsening form of arthritis.

Gout is often typified by acute, rapid onset pain, with no apparent cause. ‘Flares’ can  last from a day to several weeks and may respond to over-the-counter, anti-infammatory medication or may require a visit to your GP for something stronger. There is no cure for gout, but you can effectively treat and manage the condition with medication and self-management strategies.

Factors influencing gout are –

  • being male
  • obesity
  • hypertension
  • dieuretics
  • diabetes
  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • red meat, including offal
  • some seafoods including anchovies, sardines, mussels, scalops, trout and tuna

Other forms of arthritis and other related conditions include but are not restricted to –

  • ankylosing spondylisis – affects spine
  • cervical spondylitis – affects neck
  • fibromyalgia – pain in ligaments, tendons and muscles
  • lupus – auto-immune condition
  • psoriatic arthritis – in those with psoriasis
  • enteropathic arthritis – associated with bowel disease
  • reactive arthritis – often follows a UTI
  • secondary arthritis – arthritis following injury
  • polymyalgia rheumatica – auto-immune related

Maidenhead Podiatry can’t treat arthritis but it can help you manage the symptoms, advise on how you can help yourself, and make them easier to live with. So give us a call if you think we can help you.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors, email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk call 01628 773588 and speak to one of our friendly reception team.

Shin splints & metatarsalgia – a guest blog by Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Do I have shin splints?

Frequently patients come into clinic complaining of conditions like shin splints and metatarsalgia.

These are two ‘diagnoses’ which are common labels used by many people, healthcare professionals, sports professionals and our friend Geena who works down the club and gets that exact same pain in her foot… We can all be guilty of it, but what do they mean and why is using these terms a problem?

Well… I’m sure we’ve all had that moment where we are laying in a dark room having maxed out on the pain killers we have in the cupboard and hoping that the clock quietens down with its ticking because it’s making that throbbing in our head feel even worse.

Then that thought comes into our head, “what is causing this pain??? Is it dehydration? Is it just a migraine? Maybe I ate something… and that is a stark reality, we can have pain in an area and not realise what’s causing it and while a migraine compared to an achy forefoot (metatarsalgia) is quite a contrast, we wouldn’t want the doctor treating our migraine like a hangover, and even less would we like him to treat our hangover like a migraine!

So why are shin splints, metatarsalgia and arthritis such a series of misnomers? Well, let’s break them down…

Shin splints

Shin splints is a term that gets used so interchangeably that it’s hard to know what people mean, but the commonly accepted diagnosis that it is linked to is “medial tibial stress syndrome”.

This being said, it can be used for multiple tendinopathies, exertional leg pain and even apophysitis (stress/injury to muscle/tendon attachment in children) such as that of Osgood-Schlatter’s.

Medial tibial stress syndrome is really a low grade stress reaction in the tibia that is typically the result of torsional (twisting) forces as the foot, ankle and leg make contact with the ground, ultimately causing a very low grade stress response (the precursor to a stress fracture).

So when its put like that, we’re dealing with a few different potential diagnoses… so if the diagnoses are different, surely the treatment has to be too? Let’s look at metatarsalgia…

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia, when the word is broken down means “pain in the forefoot”. It doesn’t include toe pain, although the pain can radiate into the toes.

Metatarsalgia can be the result of inflamed joints, overloading of tendons, structural anomalies, arthritic changes or swollen, inflamed or trapped nerves. All of these things can cause foot pain, but the treatment for the specific condition should need to be different for each problem.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a highly generic term but in reality has a very specific meaning which varies on context.

There are various types of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis etc, but quite often a diagnosis of arthritis may be made based off of an x-ray due to a narrowing of the joint spaces – which is actually typical in a huge proportion of the population who are “over a certain age”.

That said, the presence of arthritic changes do not necessarily mean that pain is guaranteed; in fact, there are a huge number of people walking or even running around whose knees are “bone on bone” with minimal or no pain. Equally there are a huge number of people who have joint pain but an x-ray examination shows no signs of that dreaded “wear and tear”.

There is a real paradigm shift going on within healthcare where we are concerned about the language we use and what that language means for our patients.

Equally, there is general misdiagnosis being made by those less experienced in diagnosing foot pain, and as a result I see many patients who go through life suffering with their feet for years until they get the correct diagnosis.

Always make sure that you get a diagnosis when you see a clinician and are not given a generic condition such as shin splints or metatarsalgia… 

About Jeremy Ousey MSc MCPod

Jeremy Ousey  is an HCPC registered Podiatrist and CASE qualified sonographer.

Having worked in podiatric surgical units, physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary practices, he takes a multi-faceted and patient-centred approach to care. With a bachelors in Podiatry, postgraduate degrees in podiatric sports medicine and medical ultrasound and a masters in the theory of podiatric surgery he allows evidence to guide his treatment plans.

Jeremy lectures on heel pain, extra-corporeal shockwave therapy, musculoskeletal examination, treatment of the foot and ankle including management of ankle sprains and verruca needling.

His interests are in the surgical management of skin lesions, nail surgery, musculoskeletal and biomechanical evaluation, acute and chronic sports injuries, tendinopathies, diagnostic ultrasound and surgical management of foot and ankle pathology

If you would like any more information or to book an appointment with Jeremy then please call Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk