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Family Foot & Ankle

What’s with All These “-itis”es?

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You’ve probably noticed a lot of common medical conditions—including those that affect the feet and ankles—end in the same four letters: ITIS. Think about it:

And those are just the feet and ankles. I’m sure you could think of plenty more that affect other areas of the body. Meningitis, conjunctivitis, bronchitis, hepatitis … you get the idea. 

What’s with All These “-itis”es?

Well, have you ever stopped and wondered what that suffix actually means? Or why some conditions are “itises” and others aren’t? The thing all these conditions have in common (or are supposed to have in common, anyway) is that they are all inflammatory conditions.

Inflammation is a natural biological response meant to protect the body from additional harm. If a tissue has been torn or damaged, or if germs or toxins get in, an inflammatory response is triggered to clear out irritants and begin the healing process.

But just because inflammation serves a useful purpose doesn’t mean it’s much fun to experience. Common symptoms of inflammation include pain, redness, swelling, heat, stiffness, loss of function and range of motion, and more. Plus, your body has to achieve a delicate balance. If the inflammatory response after an injury or infection is too small, it could lead to progressive tissue destruction. But too much inflammation that becomes chronic can cause long-term pain and disease, too.

Inflammation Pain

The “-itis” conditions we treat vary in terms of where they’re located, and the kinds of tissue they affect. Plantar fasciitis is ligament damage under the heel. Achilles tendinitis is tendon damage behind or above the heel. Arthritis affects the joints, typically in either the ankle or the small bones of the forefoot and toes. Tendons, muscles, ligaments, bursae, and even bone marrow can become inflamed.

Fortunately, almost all of these problems can be treated in our office, without the need for surgery or other invasive procedures. A combination of conservative therapies such as stretching, physical therapy, custom orthotics, and rest can usually provide all the care you need. So the next time you feel an “-itis” coming on in your feet and ankles, make sure you book an appointment with the Family Foot & Ankle Center. We have several convenient locations in and around Cincinnati to serve you. Give us a call today at (888) 689-3317.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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