With more than 100 forms of arthritis out there, it’s not surprising that so many elderly men and women have arthritis. Three types of arthritis are common in older adults. They are gout, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Here’s what you need to know.
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up and crystallizes in the joints. It leads to pain and swelling that can flare up at any time. The big toe is one of the most commonly affected areas. When gout hits, it’s usually sudden and extremely painful. It can feel like the toe is burning and putting any pressure on the toe is excruciating. People with gout may find it impossible to wear shoes, cover their feet with sheets while they sleep, or walk.
Without treatment, gout can damage the joint. Treatments often include losing weight, avoiding alcoholic beverages, and taking NSAID pain relievers and corticosteroids.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the elderly. As you age, the cartilage found on the end of your bones thins. Eventually, the bones may rub together. When this happens, pain, stiffness, and even bone spurs may occur. The hands, hips, knees, and spine are the areas most at risk.
A person with osteoarthritis moves more slowly and can find it hard to be as flexible as a young person. This can make it hard to complete daily activities of living. Your mom or dad may not want to go for a walk or move around as much.
Psoriatic arthritis is usually diagnosed in the age range of 30 to 50. The earlier it’s caught, the better. Left untreated, this form of arthritis can damage the joints permanently. How do you know if your parent has it? The most common symptoms are:
- Toenails and/or fingernails that separate from the nail bed or appeal to have nail fungus.
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, tendons, toes, and fingers.
- Stiffness that’s more pronounced when getting up in the morning.
Most people experience psoriatic arthritis in their toes and fingers. It can make it hard to do things that require walking, standing, and curling the hands. Your mom or dad might struggle to hold a knife, fork, or spoon. Holding a toothbrush is hard, and flossing the teeth can seem impossible.
When over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers and heat don’t help ease the pain and stiffness, activities of daily living may be impacted. Enlist the help of caregivers to make sure your parent is able to complete things like oral care, grooming, meal preparation, and daily exercise. Elderly care services help with all of these activities.