Monday, 28 October 2013

Foot arthritis and its effective cures

Foot is one integral body part which needs to be in perfect shape, so as to ensure healthy living. It may sound unbelievable but the fact is that a normal human being needs to take almost a million steps in a year! Hence it is quite natural that after a certain age several foot conditions start raising their heads, foot arthritis being the most common of them. According to medical practitioners, now-a-days, foot problems start showing at much younger age which is indeed a matter of concern. Discussed below are several aspects of foot arthritis and its effective cure.

What is foot arthritis and what are its effects:-

Arthritis results in serious foot conditions which can restrict the patient’s mobility and normal functioning to a great extent. Basically there are three types of arthritis because of which your feet can suffer. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the lining of joints thus destroying bones, joints and tissues. Patient usually starts feeling discomfort in the foot or ankle portion. If not treated at an early stage the problem can take a serious shape. Some researchers feel that the condition is caused because of the presence of some 
particular types of genes.

Osteoarthritis is an even more serious arthritis when cartilages, covering ends of bones, are damaged so that when these uncovered bones rub against each other, it causes stiffness, weakness and severe pain.

Obesity, family history or old age is considered common causes of Osteoarthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis but the only difference is that it develops due to trauma or injury of the foot. Fractures and dislocations are the most common types of injuries that may lead to Post-traumatic arthritis. Most often this problem starts showing years after receiving the injury.

How to be sure about foot arthritis?

The best answer is to visit a foot specialist who will carry out thorough examination of the foot with focus on the painful area. The patient’s medical history is also taken into consideration so as to assess if the foot condition is related to any past foot injury or whether arthritic problems run in the family. Depending on the severity of the condition, the podiatrist may suggest X-ray so as to have a clear view of the bone structure. The patient may be asked to do the Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, which also assists in diagnosis.

Best cure for foot arthritis:-

If the pain is insufferable, doctors might prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines or cortisone injections. However such treatments are usually advised for limited period. Podiatrists mainly stress on shifting to comfortable footwear and orthotics like shoe inserts or arch supports, so that your feet get better padding and shielding from extreme stress.

In acute cases, customized shoes or orthotics are recommended. Care needs to be taken so that the orthotic is manufactured as per the Podiatrist’s instructions. Apart from these, physical therapy helps relieving pain and foot stiffness. Doctors further prescribe nutritional supplements so as to strengthen bone structure and body resistance. Surgery like Arthroscopy or joint replacement is mostly regarded as the last resort. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Timely treatments for foot conditions related to diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes is one silent killer which affects different body organs slowly, till the patient condition turns irrecoverable. According to data released by the National Diabetes Fact Sheet in the year 2011, a total of 25.8 million children and adults, i.e., 8.3% of the total United States population is affected with this scary disease. It indeed sounds quite intimidating! The worst thing is that diabetes brings along with it several unwanted health conditions like peripheral vascular disease and neuropathy. Patients get easily exposed to infections which can’t be cured easily.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

It is basically a kind of nerve disorder which is caused due to diabetes. With rising glucose level, nerves throughout the body fail to function properly. While nerve problems can affect any body organ but foot conditions are quite prevalent among aged diabetic patients. Again the risk level is higher for those suffering from diabetes since long. A study shows that approximately 60 to 70% of diabetic patients are suffering from some kind of neuropathy. 

Diabetic neuropathy is classified into four basic types, i.e., peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal. While the peripheral neuropathy can be directly associated with feet, legs and toe problems, proximal neuropathy basically affects thighs, hips or buttock portion thus causing weakness in legs. Peripheral nerves of the body which connect brain and spinal cord to muscles, internal organs, glands and skin are impaired due to peripheral neuropathy, which is why this type of neuropathy is dreaded the most.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

Patients who have gone through this condition complain of numbness and loss of feeling, especially in feet and hands. Sometimes it may start as pin or needle pricking sensation which is followed by a burning feeling. You may feel as if your foot is on fire!  Even the slightest touch leads to screams of agony. Many patients complain of electric shock kind of sensation or as if they are walking on broken glass.  Does this sound agonizing? Yes, this is what patients have to say about severe foot conditions arising out of diabetic neuropathy. 

Loss of normal sensation of the foot makes patients susceptible to frequent cuts, blisters, scrapes or pressure sores. If not treated in time, minor injuries can turn into ulcers or conditions even more serious. 

How to overcome diabetic neuropathy

The best answer is to control diabetes i.e. blood sugar and blood pressure levels. By following proper diet and healthy lifestyle it is possible to keep your diabetes at check. Those who are prone to foot injuries should keep a close watch on their feet. If the pain is too much, then doctors may suggest painkillers, though these are not long term solutions.

Take a closer look at your footwear. Is it comfortable enough or enhancing feet irritation and pain? If so then shift to comfortable footwear or foot orthotic, designed for diabetic foot care. If foot conditions prevail then it is always advisable to get in touch with an expert podiatrist. Leave it up to the expert to decide what will be the best treatment for your diabetic feet.