Keeping Active in Retirement - Don’t let osteoarthritis get you down

All of us probably remember our parents or grandparents dealing with the pain or limitations that come with arthritis.  While there are different types of arthritides, or problems affection your joints, osteoarthritis tends to affect almost all individuals as we age.  Think of it as the result of ‘wear and tear’ on your joints. With an active lifestyle,the problem you may be experiencing yourself is the same problem that affected your elders but at a younger age.  You have many more options than aspirin and copper bracelets unlike the generations before you.

The bones that connect at your joints are covered in smooth cartilage tissue that allows them to glide smoothly over one another.  Over a lifetime, this cartilage can become worn down, especially when there has been some trauma or damage to the affected area.  This ‘trauma’ induced wear down occurring in the foot most often affects the ankle joint and big toe joint.  Trauma is in quotes because it doesn’t only consist of fractures or serious injury.  Over a lifetime, poor foot mechanics or structure can cause undue stress on particular joints eventually leading to degradation of the cartilage.  The key to good treatment, as with many medical problems is early intervention.

While we still haven’t discovered the fountain of youth, there are many options available to optimize the function of your feet.  One of the best ways to keep your big toe and ankle functioning properly is through a total contact orthotic.  The custom inserts we can design for you will help to keep the structures of your foot and ankle in optimal alignment thereby eliminating or preventing the traumas we mentioned earlier. Some arthritis, particularly in the ankle, may be improved with injection into the joint of a viscous material.  There are several options of viscosupplemention, or replacement for the loss of cartilage.  In the case of more severe joint degradation, there are surgical options available as well.  Joint replacements for the big toe joint have been used for many years and are of the highest quality.  Ankle joint replacements don’t have the track record that knees or hips do, but are becoming better and better with time.  While Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists cannot turn back the hands of time, early intervention can keep your joints functioning for many years to come!

Until next time, keep those feet and ankle happy and healthy Austin!
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