Arthritis is a broad term for a group of conditions where there is damage of the body’s joints, which can cause pain and stiffness. There are numerous types of arthritis and some types of arthritis that podiatrists can assist with include:
- Osteoarthritis: joint degeneration caused by mechanical stress, generally described as ‘wear and tear’ of the joint cartilage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: an inflammatory form of arthritis that is due to an autoimmune disease (your body’s own immune system attacking your own healthy tissues).
- Gout: an excess of uric acid where crystals form in and around joints, most commonly in the big toe joint, which can lead to intensely painful flares of pain and swelling.
- Spondyloarthritis: a name for the types of arthritis that commonly affect the spine.
So how does having arthritis change your life?
Our feet are pivotal as they support us all day and allow us to walk, run and take the stairs. Your feet are subjected to enormous pressure throughout the day, and having arthritis can have a major impact on your ability to perform at your best.
It is common for people living with arthritis to experience stiff and painful joints which may be worse at specific times. Everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning and yard work may become challenging. A decreased ability to partake in leisure, social and occupation activities may additionally result in a decrease in your independence and quality of life.
Where do I seek help when my arthritis is affecting my life?
While some may choose to put up with their pain, you can make the choice to see someone who can help in managing your pain and improving your function. Furthermore, some forms of arthritis, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to severe and irreversible damage if left untreated. Thus, it is important you seek assistance in the diagnosis and management of arthritis from a podiatrist or doctor.
As podiatrists, we are experts on the foot and ankle, but we also see many patients who are affected with arthritis higher up the body, such as in the knees and back. In some cases, we may take a multi-disciplinary approach and involve your GP, rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) or occupational therapist in your treatment plan so you can attain the best results for happier feet.
Please look forward to reading about our upcoming post on facebook on the types of services we offer to help with the treatment of arthritis.
So, let me know what you think!
Bala SV, Samuelson K, Hagell P, Fridlund B, Forslind K, Svensson B, Thomé B. Living with persistent rheumatoid arthritis: a BARFOT study. Journal of clinical nursing. 2017 Sep;26(17-18):2646-56.