Feet bear the weight of our entire body, if it gets affected by arthritis or any other disease, not only shall our movement be restricted but our life will come to a standstill. Let us learn about causes due to which our feet may be affected by arthritis. As per the studies conducted by the Center of Disease Control, some of the most important causes of arthritis of the feet include irregular and improper physical exercise, obesity, and irregular health check-ups.
Similarly certain debilitating diseases like diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2; hypercholesterolemia, which means a high level of blood cholesterol; can also result in arthritis. A few habits like smoking cigarettes can also cause degeneration of the joints of the feet.
Few major risk factors include the presence of a history of arthritis of feet in the family. Rheumatoid Arthritis and osteoporosis though is more common in the elderly aged people and in postmenopausal women but can be one major contributing factor for arthritis in feet. Research studies have reported the presence of some hereditary and genetic factors may be involved in the etiology of this debilitating condition.
Common Causes of Arthritis in the Feet
Research studies have revealed at that, about 90% of persons suffering from rheumatoid or autoimmune arthritis develop arthritis of the feet. Studies conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, commonly abbreviated as AAOS, reported that the joints of the forefeet, toes, heel, back of the foot and ankles are commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis. However, the exact mechanism of pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis is still not clear.
Although not an inherited disorder, genetic factors are found to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of this condition, which is often triggered by some sort of infection or environmental factors. On exposure to these factors, the immune system in response to the activation of the genes starts producing certain chemical substances which cause damage to the joints. This is the probable pathogenesis of the rheumatoid which causes arthritis in the feet.
Trauma or Injury to the Joints of the Feet
Fractures or dislocations which cause damage to the surface of the joints are the most common reason for arthritis of the feet. Studies have revealed that, in spite of proper treatment, an injured joint is almost seven times more susceptible to develop arthritis, because of the underlying damage.
The primary reason for this is, that our body secretes certain hormones following an injury, which in turn can stimulate destruction of the cartilage cells, resulting in their death hence resulting in arthritis related symptoms.
Can walking and running cause arthritis of the feet? Physical exercise like walking and running if performed on uneven surfaces, or misplacing of steps can cause extra stress on the feet, resulting in the degeneration of tissues and thus leading to arthritis.
As per the studies conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, taking into consideration the fact that about 300,000 pounds of body weight are borne by the feet for each mile walked by an individual, an improper foot care can result in an unhealthy and painful feet, thereby leading to their injury even following a minor trauma. Similarly, a defect in the structure of the foot, like having a flat foot, can transfer the body weight to the joints found nearby, or to the ball of the foot. This can often result in the inflammation of the joint of the second toe.
Use of Ill-Fitting Shoes
Use of tight, ill-fitting shoes and shoes with high heels often result in injuries to the joints of the feet, resulting in arthritis of the feet.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Medical School reported that, bunions are one of the most common disorders resulting due to usage of ill-fitting footwear and shoes with high heels, and cause arthritis inf the feet. Bunions, which cause pressure on the first metatarsophalangeal joint, causes inflammation of the fat pad surrounding the joint of the great toe; and are often a cause of arthritis of the feet.
Of course, one cannot deny the fact that, sports injuries play a significant role in the development of arthritis in the feet. In this connection games like football is one of the most remarkable ones.
Injuries to the ankle is common amongst people who often go for regular walks and run around as a routine practice of exercise, as these people are more prone to ankle injuries when on move. High chances are that ankle may get turned or twisted, following walking and running on the bumpy and unlevelled ground. Thus, damaging tissues and cartilage, this could further result in inflammation, followed by arthritis.
Deficiency of certain important nutrients in the diet, such as lack of calcium, vitamin D, iron, copper, etc., can result in unhealthy bone and joint of the foot, which may thus give rise to arthritis in the feet
Infectious Arthritis of the Feet
Infectious arthritis, also referred to as septic arthritis may be caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. Some of the common bacterial infections causing septic arthritis of the feet are infection by gram positive microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus, and Hemophilus influenze; and gram negative bacteria such as E. coli.
In some drug addicts, who use intravenous route of administration, septic arthritis of the feet is usually caused by Pseudomonas bacteria, and in sexually active males by Neisseria gonorrhoeae; and in children by Salmonella group of bacteria. The spirochete which causes Lyme disease, also results in the development of septic arthritis of the feet.
Some of the viral infections which cause septic arthritis of the feet are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, parvovirus B19, HIV or AIDS viruses, coxsackie viruses, etc. Some of the fungi which can cause septic arthritis of the feet include mainly histoplasma infection. A rare cause is plant thorn arthritis, which is also known as plant thorn synovitis, which causes arthritis of the foot joint following a puncture by a thorn.
Some of the Other Conditions Which Cause Arthritis of the Feet
These include juvenile arthritis, and a metabolic disorder of purines, known as gout. Reactive arthritis which is a form of chronic inflammatory disease, also known as Reiter’s syndrome causes arthritis of the feet. Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease also causes arthritis of the small joints of the feet. Psoriatic arthritis, which is associated with a skin disorder known as psoriasis often causes inflammation of the toes. A blood disorder, known as sickle cell anemia, can also cause arthritis of the feet.