According to a study released by Keele University, one out of every six people over the age of 50 will develop osteoarthritis of the foot, a condition that causes enough foot pain to be extremely debilitating.
Osteoarthritis is the result of inflammation in and around the joints; it can also be caused by damage to cartilage. Until now, most foot-arthritis research focused on the joint of the big toe, where bunions form, but the new research shows that the bones at the top of the foot (metatarsal) can be affected as well. And once they are affected, it can get bad fairly quickly; according to Dr. Edward Roddy, the lead study researcher, 75% of people who develop osteoarthritis of the foot have trouble doing day-to-day tasks like housework and grocery shopping. Many will even have trouble walking or standing.
Another important bit of information came out of this study: the people most at risk for developing foot arthritis are women—most likely because ladies cause more damage to their feet by wearing high heels that helps the swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis set in.
As we learn more about arthritis of the foot, we understand that we have to treat foot pain immediately if we want to prevent serious health problems in our retirement years. As Professor Anthony Redmond of Arthritis Research UK explains, “If we want to keep our over-50s active and healthy we should be serious about arch or mid-foot pain.”
Let Professor Redmond’s words be your personal mantra: schedule an appointment with your Houston podiatrist at the first sign of foot pain so that you can enjoy pain-free walking for many years to come.