Over 85% of patients with arthritis have painful feet or ankles during the course of the disease, and within the first year of diagnosis up to 57% of patients report foot or ankle symptom.
There are a few different problems that can cause joint inflammation or arthritis. One of these problems is called Osteoarthritis. People often refer to osteoarthritis by other names like 'degenerative joint disease,' or 'wear-and-tear arthritis.
Osteoarthritis & Feet: “Wear-and-Tear” & Bone Spurs
Osteoarthritis is a condition once thought to be due simply to wear and tear on the cartilage of a joint. Osteoarthritis is now known to be a complex process that involves an active disease process.
Normal joint surfaces are covered with a smooth layer of cartilage. This cartilage is the surface that is worn thin in the condition called osteoarthritis. The problem that causes osteoarthritis is due to more wearing away – degradation -- and less repair of the cartilage surface. There is both a mechanical wearing away part of osteoarthritis, and a biologic -- abnormal joint biology -- part of the disease.
Cartilage undergoes a normal cycle of breakdown and repair, but in the condition of osteoarthritis, the cartilage is not replaced effectively, and ultimately the joint lining wears thin. The fundamental problem of Osteoarthritis is thought to be the imbalance between fresh cartilage production, and natural degradation. As the joint surface wears away, the body attempts to correct the problem. The body initiates an inflammatory response to the joint, causing swelling. New bone in the form of bone spurs are created to increase the joint surface area. Unfortunately, the body cannot compensate for the cartilage that is lost and the painful condition of osteoarthritis is the result.