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Arthritis is a painful and sometimes crippling disease. It takes various forms but they all cause swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints, which can easily lead to loss of mobility. It’s most common in people over 50, but it can occur at any age.

With so many joints in the feet, arthritis often starts here, and a number of painful conditions can ensue.

Common Forms of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the result of ‘wear and tear’, as cartilage in the joint simply wears down over time. The resultant rough surface causes bones to rub together and creates painful bone spurs. The joint then becomes inflamed and swollen, making movement very painful indeed. 

Osteoarthritis can also be caused by injuries such as fractures or repeated trauma to the area. Not surprisingly sports people can suffer, as constant training and competition put continual pressure on their feet. It can also be hereditary, so if runs in your family have a chat with your podiatrist or GP.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease triggered by problems with the immune system. This targets the tissues, cartilage and bone of the joints, causing them to break down. The cushioning between the joints is eroded and they can become stiff and swollen to the point of total immobility.  

This is an extremely painful and debilitating condition. As joints swell and toes stiffen, the foot becomes misshapen. The resultant pressure points create all sorts of problems.  

Arthritis Causes Some Common Foot Problems

Hallux valgus is a bone deformity or bunion that affects the joint at the base of the big toe, making it turn inward and rub on the second toe. It can also produce a bony lump on the outside of the foot, which makes shoe shopping very challenging indeed.

Hammertoe occurs when the breakdown of the muscles and tendons prevent the toes from being held in the correct position. The toe starts to bend down at the middle joint, leading to more pain and pressure.  

Fallen arches will collapse if the supporting tendons are affected. In addition, the fatty pad that protects the soles can slip out of place, leaving you with no cushioning underfoot.

Your Podiatrist Can Help

Needless to say, all of these conditions cause painful problems, as tender and misshapen joints create pressure in all the wrong places. It may be difficult to find comfortable shoes that support your feet without making things worse. Indeed, without the right guidance you may have trouble walking altogether.  

Fortunately, we can help. By analysing your gait we’ll know if you’re experiencing pain or pressure, and whether the bones of the ankles and legs are lining up correctly. We’ll look at your shoes to see if they’re giving you the best support, and we’ll help you find the right pair if not.

We may suggest custom-made orthotics to cushion and protect your feet. They can also change the angle of the ankle, if necessary, to move pressure away from sensitive areas. This helps to realign the body when pain has led to problems with posture.  

Your podiatrist can give you specific exercises to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility and range of movement, if this is appropriate for you. And, of course, we can deal with corns, bunions and calluses that are likely to arise from these issues.

The Right Support Is Essential Arthritis can’t be cured but it can be alleviated and controlled in many cases. At Feet By Pody you’ll get all the support you need, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.