Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the joints in the body begin to break down and lose cartilage. Cartilage is what cushions and supports your bones, and when it begins to break down, performing regular activities and common movements becomes more difficult. The ankles and midfoot are common areas for osteoarthritis and can affect simple tasks, such as walking. In order to be sure that you don’t get this condition, there are some ways you can prevent foot and ankle osteoarthritis:
Maintain a healthy weight – extra weight puts a lot of pressure on your body, as well as your joints. In fact, for every pound you gain, it adds four pounds of stress on your bones and body. As a result, such pressure breaks down cartilage over time. Be sure to watch your weight and keep it under control.
- Custom orthotics – getting the proper support for your foot and ankle when dealing with this degenerative condition is extremely helpful in reducing pain. Custom orthotics will alleviate added pressure to the joint region, helping to compensate for lost cartilage. Depending on the severity of your osteoarthritis, your foot and ankle specialist may recommend custom orthotics.
- Proper shoe selection – for some, simply wearing supportive footwear can make a world of difference in their quality of life. Arch support is incredibly important for those suffering from arthritis as the joint is no longer stable. This issue is further complicated if you have high or low arches. Cavus foot also known as high arches, shoes with extra cushioning will help your feet handle impact more effectively preventing injury. If you have flat feet, shoes providing arch support can help prevent arch pain. A podiatrist can teach you how to properly select shoes designed for the characteristics of your foot structure whether you have high or low arches.
Exercise – considered the best treatment for osteoarthritis, some exercise can have a lot of benefits when trying to improve your health. Up to 30 minutes of moderate activity a day can strengthen the muscles around your joints in the ankles and feet.
Blood sugar control – high glucose levels have the ability to arrange molecules that stiffen up cartilage and make it more sensitive to movements and pressure. As a result, a lot of people with diabetes also suffer from arthritis, because diabetes can lead to systemic inflammation, which can also break down cartilage.
If you’re looking to treat your ankle and foot arthritis, taking on some simple changes in your lifestyle can prevent the chance of you losing joint stability. If you’re looking for more information on osteoarthritis and how it can be prevented and treated, contact Foot and Ankle Surgeons of New York today!