With 28 bones, 33 joints and the stress of supporting the body, it’s not surprising that a lot can go wrong with your feet. Foot pain can result from many causes, including several forms of arthritis, says Carol Frey, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Manhattan Beach, California. Here are some possible causes and what to do if you experience them.
When the temperature drops, wearing the right clothing when you head out into the elements can ease the ache in your joints. “The best way to beat the chill is by wearing layers,” says Heidi V. Freeman, PhD, an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Layering lightweight fabrics can keep you toasty with less bulk. Here’s how.
For most of us, a job is more than a paycheck. It’s how we use our skills, interact with others and contribute to society. “When arthritis tests your ability to do your job, your ability to support yourself and your family – and even your feelings of self-worth – can suffer,” says Saralynn Allaire, a research professor at Boston University’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences. You can thrive in the workplace, and laws will help protect your rights. Experts identify common workplace challenges and offer advice for overcoming them.
If your fingers and toes are icy, it might not just be from winter weather. It may be due to Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which hands and feet (and sometimes nose, ears or lips) overreact to cold temperatures or emotional stress. During an attack, blood vessels narrow, limiting blood flow to the skin and causing symptoms such as numbness, pain and changes in skin color.
Raynaud’s sometimes results from an injury or autoimmune disorder, such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and doctors are likely to attribute symptoms to those conditions in patients who have them. But Raynaud’s also can be caused by certain medications – something doctors may overlook.
If you develop symptoms of Raynaud’s, ask if they might be drug-related, and review a list of your medications with your doctor. “Although the association between certain drugs and Raynaud’s is well-known, doctors may miss it,” says Donald Miller, a professor of pharmacy practice at North Dakota State University in Fargo. “You have to be your own advocate.”
Here are the top three drug classes known to increase the risk of Raynaud’s.
Wrapping gifts and baking cookies can be a real challenge with arthritis pain and fatigue. We asked some experts for ways to make these time-honored holiday traditions easier and healthier.
The holidays can be full of fun and good cheer, but it can also usher in extra health risks if you have arthritis. Try these tips to avoid them.
If you have arthritis or take medications to treat it, a cough, fever or fatigue may be signs of infection. That’s because you may be more vulnerable to infections than the general population, says Dee Dee Wu, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Paramus, New Jersey. Plus, infections can become serious, so treating them promptly is important.
The pressure of coping with arthritis can ratchet up stress and anxiety – a condition that affects as many as 1 in 3 people with arthritis. And that, in turn, can worsen the symptoms of chronic diseases and contribute to a host of other problems.
“When we are stressed or perceive a threat, our body responds with physiologic responses that prepare us to fight or escape the enemy,” says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor emeritus at Union Graduate College in Schenectady, N.Y. “Our heart rate and breathing speed up, our muscles tense and blood flow to the brain increases, putting us in a state of high awareness.” That can help protect you if the enemy is an attacking tiger and the threat ends quickly. But when ongoing stress leads to anxiety (excessive worry), it can result in a heightened awareness of symptoms – for instance, pain feels worse – as well as increased susceptibility to infection and risk of other health problems, including heart disease. Anxiety can have indirect health impacts, too, if it leads to inactivity, interferes with sleep or leads you to eat unhealthy foods for comfort.
Twenty-eight bones, 29 joints and an intricate network of ligaments, tendons and nerves in your hands make it possible to button a shirt, braid hair, slice a steak or give a thumbs-up. But when arthritis or a related condition affects the hands, the simplest tasks can be painful. Dori Neill Cage, MD, an orthopedic hand surgeon in San Diego, lists some common arthritis-related problems that affect the hands.
If your hip or knee arthritis makes you feel unsteady and worry that you’ll fall, your instinct probably is to avoid risks. You might not feel confident walking far or doing much physical activity. But to become steadier and reduce your risk of falling, you have to overcome those worries and be more active – safely.