FOOT ARTHRITIS
 
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FOOT ARTHRITIS
 

 


     
         

 

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ARTHRITIS

 

INTRODUCTION

There are two main types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the main form of arthritis and is known as the "wear and tear" disorder. It can affect any joint. The big toe is especially susceptible due to the tremendous amounts of pressure that is placed upon it while we are walking. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to erode and then causes the bone ends to fuse which results in stiffness and aching of the joints. Osteoarthritis can also follow a fracture or a bad sprain to the foot.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a systemic disease, which affects the whole body. Rheumatoid arthritis affects all the joints and muscles in the foot. It affects more women than men and can be inherited. The insides of the joints become swollen and stiff. It affects the feet by causing a gradual collapse of the arch; the toes become contracted and draw back. Bunions are common amongst elderly rheumatoid arthritic patients.


SYMPTOMS

Rheumatoid arthritis

Painful, swollen joints.
Soles of the feet may feel tender. Patients often refer to this sensation as "walking on pebbles".
Corns, calluses and ulcers may develop under the soles of the feet.
The stiffness and inflammation is worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity.

Osteoarthritis

Stiffness and pain in a particular joint.


CAUSES

Rheumatoid arthritis

Auto-immune disease which can be inherited.
May be due to a virus.


Osteoarthritis

Wear and tear disorder due to repetitive use of a particular joint in the body.
Week cartilage and bone structure is also a contributing factor.


FOOT CONDITIONS

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Bunions are common amongst rheumatoid arthritic patients (refer to photograph below).
Corns, calluses, thick nails and ulcers can occur due to the occurrence of bunions.

Rheumatiod Arthritic Feet

The above photograph is a typical example of Rheumatoid Arthritic feet.

Osteoarthritis

Hallux rigidus may occur; this is a condition in which the big toe becomes very stiff and painful to move.
Corns, calluses and ulcers can occur due to osteoarthritis affecting any bone in the foot.
If the ankle joint is affected then a patient may suffer from pain from various tendons that may be affected.


WHAT THE CHIROPODIST WILL DO

In both forms of arthritis and the treatment applied by the chiropodist will be very similar.

Treatment of corns, calluses, thick nails and ulcers. This may involve paring down the callus and corns and applying redistributing padding.
The prescription of orthopaedic footwear.
Protective shields.
Orthosis (insoles) to redistribute pressure away from the affected region.
Close communication with other specialist areas such as physiotherapists, rheumatologists and specialist nurses.
In the case of a rheumatoid arthritic patient, close communication between the chiropodist and the GP may be necessary. The GP may prescribe the appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also important to consider that rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease. It can affect other parts of the body and may slow down healing response times.


WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO

Ignore the pain.
Treat any foot complaints yourself with a razor.


WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Wear appropriate footwear, which is deep enough to accommodate your feet. Please refer to our Shoes and Health section.
Have your foot complaints treated by a chiropodist regularly.
If a joint is swollen then the use of ice packs and anti-inflammatory creams can be of some benefit.

Recommended Treatments

Click here to view supports that provide heat and mild compression to help arthritis sufferers and read about Syn Flex the revolutionary treatment for arthritis