Arthritic Foot Care
Arthritis can affect any of the movable joints in the feet. This can result in foot deformities such as enlarged swollen joints or toes becoming crooked and causing problems when walking in shoes.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the toes and the forefoot joints are the most commonly affected. These joints can become displaced and deformed and often the muscles and tendons shorten causing the toes to become hammer shaped or clawed. Pain associated with arthritic changes in the feet will vary with the type and duration of the condition. The pain may be acute as in the initial stages of gout, with the affected joints inflamed and swollen. The pain may present with morning stiffness and limited joint movement, which increases on weight-bearing in rheumatoid arthritis. Joint movements may be lost altogether due to bony deformity of the joints with osteoarthritis, resulting in limited movement and pain experienced with normal day to day activities. It is important to recognise that arthritis can affect other areas of the body, which results in poor posture and restricted movements. It is sometimes difficult for the feet to operate correctly as weight-bearing structures that support and propel the body forwards, when some of the key joints such as the hips or shoulders are affected.
CARE FOR YOUR FEET
Correct washing and drying of your feet is vital in maintaining foot health. It is most important to clean well between toes, lifting each toe and thoroughly clearing out any debris. Foot exercises are essential to help keep the joints moving and reduce joint stiffness that can make a person unsteady and liable to fall more easily. Nails should be cut regularly following the natural separation line of the nail plate and not cutting down at the corners. Corns and callouses if painful, can be treated professionally by our podiatrist and pressure and friction over these areas can be relieved by protective devices such as tubular foam and other padding’s that we can supply in our clinic. Cushioning soles can be used in all footwear to provide some shock absorption against all hard walking surfaces.
It is important to buy footwear that provides the best advantages in protection, support and foot comfort for you. It is often a good idea to get yourself professionally measured and fitted with suitable footwear at least once a year. Shoes should be lightweight, flexible and allow the air to circulate around the foot. The ideal materials are leather and canvas, however most modern materials are well designed to accommodate feet. A good example of a lightweight shoe that can accommodate foot deformity is the common jogger or running shoe that is easy to put on and secure with laces or velcro straps to suit arthritic fingers. Shoes must have a broad deep toe box that will provide additional comfort and reduce frictional points that can cause corns and callouses. Heel height ideally should not exceed half an inch. Soles should have a non-slip grip pattern. Always choose the right shoe for the job – eg walking, gardening, etc. to protect the arthritic foot and support them during the activity. We supply the Dr Comfort footwear range in our clinic, which ticks all the above boxes for correct footwear.
HOW TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
It is important to discuss your mobility and foot care problems with your Podiatrist. Our Podiatrist at Mint Foot Care can advise which service or professional support is most appropriate to your needs. Our Podiatrist, after assessing your foot function may recommend orthotics or insoles to help relieve foot pain and discomfort. If you want to make an appointment, or would like to view our Dr Comfort footwear range, call our clinic on 1300 975 980 to book your consultation today.