a. The Beginning of Arthritis of the Feet. The number of synovial cells that
line a joint increases. This causes the joint to become enlarged and thickened. These
cells produce fluid.
b. The Next Step--Fluid. Now that there are too many cells, too much fluid is
produced. The fluid accumulates in the tissues and causes swelling to occur in the
c. Other Problems Occur. As the layers of synovial cells increase, other
problems begin including inflammation of the cartilage and joint lining. Arthrosis of the
feet occurs when damage and wear on the feet affect the cartilage surfaces of
2-13. RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that affects the synovium (lining of the
joints). The small joints of the feet, the metatarsal joints, and the toes are often affected
by RA. This disease can strike at any age. The exact cause is unknown, but emotional
stress has been known to trigger the disease. Swelling, pain, and warmth in the
affected joints are symptoms of RA. For best results, treatment should be started early;
otherwise, the disease can be crippling and disabling to the patient.
Paragraph 1-10 discusses gout as a musculoskeletal disease. Some information
about gout is appropriate here because of its relation to arthritis. Gout may be
described as an arthritis-associated disease that can attack the big toe of the foot.
a. History of Gout. This disease, first described by Greek and Roman
physicians, was known to Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C. In that century, Byzantine
physicians treated gout with colchicine, a drug that is still used to treat joint pain. Gout
became well known in the Middle Ages when King Henry VIII of England was afflicted
with the disease. It was known as the disease of the wealthy because it was associated
with fatty diets and alcohol, items only the rich could afford.
b. Gout Today. Gout is common today and may be aggravated by an overly rich
diet. The cause is too much uric acid in the body from faulty kidney functioning. The
body does not process protein properly; therefore, uric acid builds up in the joint spaces.
This disease is thought to be hereditary in 10 or 20 percent of the cases. See
paragraph 1-10 for signs and symptoms of gout as well as treatment of gout.
2-15. SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS OF THE FEET
Included are the following: