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Arthritis of the foot: symptoms and treatment

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Arthritis of the foot The foot is a complex anatomical structure that is one of the important components of the musculoskeletal system and can withstand disproportionately large dynamic and static loads. This part of the body performs several functions, the main of which is the spring one. It consists in the ability of the foot to absorb during exercise and walking. The human foot is divided into three sections and includes 26 bones and 4 osteo-articular joints. The inflammatory process that affects one or several joints at the same time is called foot arthritis.



Mechanism of development of arthritis of the foot

The development of foot arthritis occurs when there are changes in the synovial fluid (elastic mass that fills the joint cavity and protects the joint from damage), as well as the development of inflammation in it.

In that case, if one of the foot joints (subtalar, thoracic-heel-navicular, heel-cuboid or wedge-navicular) inflamed, the volume of synovial fluid increases significantly in the articular joint. She begins to squeeze the synovial membrane, and that, in turn, due to the presence of a large number of nerve endings, begins to respond almost instantly with an inflammatory reaction.

Causes of foot arthritis

In clinical practice, all arthritis of the foot, which includes about 100 different pathologies, can be divided into 2 large groups:

  1. Inflammatory processes in the joints, which are independent nosological units;
  2. Inflammation of the joints of the foot associated with other diseases.

The main reasons provoking the development of the pathological process include:

  • Foot injuries (bruises, fractures, microtraumas arising from a constant mechanical load);
  • Autoimmune processes (conditions that develop as a result of the body's production of antibodies against its own tissues). At the same time, primary inflammations (Still's disease, rheumatoid arthritis ) or foot arthritis can develop due to systemic diseases of the connective tissue (scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus , acute rheumatic fever, etc.);
  • Exchange disorders (development of arthritis of the foot against the background of psoriatic arthritis, gout, and the development of inflammation due to genetic predisposition);
  • Infectious pathogens (inflammation of the joints of the foot occurs against the background of an infectious disease or the direct penetration of the infection into the synovial membrane of the articular articulation).

It should be noted that hypothermia and a large physical load on the joint often become provoking factors to the development of inflammation.

Symptoms of foot arthritis

Despite the fact that there are many reasons provoking the development of inflammation, the clinical picture in all arthritis is quite similar. All symptoms are divided into specific (characteristic only for this pathology) and non-specific (found in arthritis of any origin).

Nonspecific symptoms

  1. The main symptom of any inflammatory process is pain. Pain in case of arthritis of the foot increases with walking, and after resting a little subsides. Most often, arthritic pains are spontaneous, aggravated in the second half of the night and in the morning.
  2. Hyperemia and swelling of the joint. As a rule, with arthritis of any genesis, there is redness and swelling in the inflamed area, with palpation fluctuation is possible, signaling the presence of effusion in the articular cavity. An increase in temperature in the area of ​​inflammation is most often observed in acute forms of arthritis. Also, the foot can often become bluish staining (cyanosis).
  3. Joint deformity (a condition arising from subluxations, contractures, or against the background of proliferative, exudative, or sclerotic processes in soft tissues).
  4. Mobility impairment. With the development of the inflammatory process in the area of ​​the foot, difficulties arise with its flexion and extension, as well as the volume of active and passive movements is significantly reduced and problems arise when walking.
  5. With the development of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, inflammation may form simultaneously in both feet (symmetry of the lesion).
  6. The development of signs of general intoxication of the body, as well as possible damage to the heart, kidneys, skin, etc. The exception is traumatic arthritis.
  7. With the development of arthritis of the toes, there is a simultaneous inflammation of several articular joints.
  8. The presence of morning stiffness (this condition arising due to prolonged muscle contractures is characteristic of autoimmune inflammatory diseases of the joints).
  9. The development of valgus deformity of the toes.
  10. Volatility of pain (a condition peculiar to acute rheumatic fever). In this situation, the pain may first occur in one joint of the foot, and then move on to another, and so on.
  11. Gout is characterized by damage to the toes.
  12. In psoriatic arthritis, small interphalangeal joints of the toes are most often affected.

Specific symptoms of foot arthritis

  1. With the development of arthritis of the toes, there is a simultaneous inflammation of several articular joints.
  2. The presence of morning stiffness (this condition arising due to prolonged muscle contractures is characteristic of autoimmune inflammatory diseases of the joints).
  3. The development of valgus deformity of the toes.
  4. Volatility of pain (a condition peculiar to acute rheumatic fever). In this situation, the pain may first occur in one joint of the foot, and then move on to another, and so on.
  5. Gout is characterized by damage to the toes.
  6. In psoriatic arthritis, small interphalangeal joints of the toes are most often affected.

Diagnosis of foot arthritis

As a rule, with the development of inflammation in one (or several) joints of the foot, the diagnosis does not present significant difficulties.

First of all, a diagnostic examination and anamnesis of the patient are made, allowing to establish the connection between the lesion of the foot joints with the presence of an infectious disease, trauma, allergy, focal infection or other pathological process.

Next, the patient is recommended to pass all the necessary laboratory tests (complete blood and urine analysis, blood for C-reactive protein, revmocomplex, etc.) and undergo X-ray examination in two standard projections. Electroentgenography of the foot joints has also proven itself well.

A sufficiently informative study to determine the nature of the inflammatory process is articular puncture and subsequent morphological examination of the synovial fluid.

If a specific study is needed, patients are prescribed a LE cell test (for suspected systemic lupus erythematosus), a blood test for uric acid (for gout), and the detection of antibodies to cyclic citruline peptide (for rheumatoid arthritis).

Foot arthritis treatment

The therapy of foot arthritis in each specific case is prescribed individually only after the elucidation of the cause of the inflammation is determined and is performed in combination. The treatment algorithm includes etiotropic and pathogenetic medical therapy, as well as non-pharmacological correction of the disease.

To relieve pain and relieve inflammation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs of systemic and local action are prescribed to patients. In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, basic immunosuppressive drugs, as well as hormonal drugs, are mandatory in the drug complex.

As a specific treatment prescribed for medical reasons, antibacterial or antiviral drugs, chondroprotectors and immunomodulators can be used.

Physiotherapy treatment of arthritis of the foot is recommended only without exacerbation of the disease. Cryotherapy, massage and laser treatment have proven themselves well.

At the same time, patients are advised to regularly perform therapeutic gymnastics exercises, reduce the load on the foot joints, carry out nutrition correction, and, with the permission of the attending physician, use certain methods of traditional medicine.


| 9 March 2015 | | 1 836 | Joint diseases
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