Arthritis & Feet
If you have Arthritis and are on a Medicare Care Plan your treatments are Bulk Billed at Ulladulla Podiatry* see terms and conditions.
How does Arthritis affect your Feet?
Arthritis in the feet can have effects on other parts of the body as well as from the immediately affected joints. This is because your ligaments, tendons and muscles are forced to work harder to maintain stability & balance when you walk. This overuse can cause injuries to those ligaments, tendons and muscles, including ankle sprains, torn ligaments and a greater likelihood of falls. Another significant concern for people suffering from Arthritis is chronic pain, which has a huge effect on your health, severe pain not only limits you physically, disturbs sleep and can also affect your emotional wellbeing.
Do you have Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is common in older people, as it is a direct result of wear and tear over time. This particularly effects the feet and knees as they are weight bearing joints that have supported your body over a lifetime. Osteoarthritis is a general breaking down of the joint and usually causes pain and discomfort around the joint. You may also find that your range of movement is less than what it used to be, and your ability to walk can become affected.
Do you have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune condition that causes the body to work against itself, breaking down joints and resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity around the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis usually presents itself earlier in life, but gets progressively worse over time, making the disease a serious problem for older patients. Again a range of movement can be severely affected, as can your ability to walk, as toes can become deformed and hammered, making walking extremely uncomfortable.
How can you maintain Good Foot Health with Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis?
If your arthritis affects your feet, a good shoe with an appropriate orthotic can help relieve pain and keep you mobile. Our Podiatrist can help determine if you could benefit from an orthotic for maximum comfort & mobility. The constant change in foot shape with Arthritis will require frequent reviews of your footwear, orthotics and regular visits to your Podiatrist.
What should you look for when buying shoes?
The key to maintaining good foot health if you have any arthritic condition is a well fitting shoe. A shoe with good cushioning and support will help keep you walking. Here are some points to check:
- that your heel is stable & does not move in the shoe when walking. Buckles, laces or velcro straps need to be suitable to hold the shoe onto your foot so your foot doesn’t have to do the work;
- make sure there is enough space for your feet and toes, with extra depth & width or stretch upper to accommodate any changes in the toes;
- material in the soles and uppers should be lightweight and flexible & help match the shape of your foot;
- leather uppers and linings or elasticised fabric uppers with minimal seams can reduce pressure & rubbing & developing skin irritations. Some special depth shoes can accommodate arthritic lumpy toes and prevent corns and calluses;
- Never purchase shoes that require breaking in, it should provide comfort & relief right away.
How can a Podiatrist help manage your Arthritis?
Treatments are available to alleviate and reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Our Podiatrist will carefully assess the severity of the condition and may recommend Comfort Footwear, either off the shelf or custom made. This will give problem joints more room, reducing the risks of blisters, corns and calluses that can be caused by shoes that rub on swollen areas. Orthotics can also be specially made to provide your feet with extra comfort & support and will give you more stability, making it easier to get around. There are also exercises we can teach you to help keep the joint moving, helping to relieve the stiffness and pain you may be experiencing. These treatments combined can greatly improve your quality of life and general comfort and mobility.
Contact our clinic today to arrange an appointment to ensure your feet remain in optimum condition and reduce your risk of complications.