Osteoarthritis Q & A

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common of the greater than 100 types of arthritis. This type of arthritis results from wear-and-tear damage to cartilage, the soft, slippery tissue that cushions your joints.

Osteoarthritis is more common in the body’s large, weight-bearing joints such as the knees, but can also affect the feet and ankles.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis symptoms usually develop gradually and worsen over time. Common osteoarthritis symptoms include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling and fluid accumulation in the joint
  • Limited mobility in the joint
  • Joint weakness

Foot or ankle osteoarthritis may cause you pain or difficulty while walking, climbing stairs, and performing other daily activities. If untreated, osteoarthritis can lead to serious deformity or disability.

What causes osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis often results from tissue degeneration that comes with advancing age. Most women and men over age 60 have some degree of osteoarthritis, but you can develop this complex condition in your 20s and 30s, too.

The following factors may increase your risk of osteoarthritis:

  • A family history of osteoarthritis
  • Foot or ankle injuries (e.g., broken bone, torn ligament, ankle sprain)
  • Joint overuse from repetitive motions
  • Obesity

Athletes or women and men with physical occupations may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the foot or ankle, especially if you’ve sustained injuries that didn’t receive proper treatment.

How do you diagnose and treat osteoarthritis?

First, Dr. Kleis performs a comprehensive physical exam and reviews your medical history. If he suspects arthritis is present, he may take laboratory tests to rule out rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a progressive condition that causes the immune system to attack your joints. He may also take an X-ray to evaluate the severity of the condition.

After confirming the problem is osteoarthritis, Dr. Kleis creates a personalized treatment plan to address your case. Depending on your unique condition, osteoarthritis treatment may include:

  • Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy or exercises to strengthen and protect your joints
  • Shockwave or acoustic wave therapy as well as low level laser treatment for osteoarthritis.  Dr. Kleis is the only office in southern California that offers both Using these treatments, surgery is often not necessary.
  • Custom orthotic inserts or devices

Dr. Kleis examines every possible option before recommending surgery. If your condition is severe or fails to improve with treatment, he discusses the best surgical procedures to relieve your osteoarthritis symptoms.

If you think you have arthritis in your foot or ankle, call or book an appointment online with Dr. Kleis today.

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