Foot & Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis is a disease of the joints. Arthritis is simply damage to the cartilage of a joint. Each part of the body that moves has a joint between the bones that move. Cartilage is the material that lays over the surface of each bone of the joint. If there were no cartilage between a joint, the two bones would want to join together. Cartilage takes on a great deal of pressure and force and can absorb these forces very efficiently. However, cartilage is not strong when there is a sheering force applied to it or when it is fractured. Arthritis is a progressive disease that will compound on itself. Even a small amount of damaged cartilage, leads to an uneven amount of pressure within the joint and the bones will move upon the damaged surface and erode more and more of the cartilage until there is more bone contact. Any amount of damage to the cartilage of a joint is referred to as arthritis.
There are many types of arthritis. Some diseases like, Rheumatoid Arthritis, are an autoimmune problem where the body attacks its own cartilage. This kind of arthritis will affect the whole body equally. Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is a problem that affects one joint at a time. There must be an external force, such as a fracture of the bone and joint, or a biomechanical deformity that leads to the deterioration of the joint.