Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of many destructive inflammatory joint diseases that can affect people of any age. It is erosive in nature and can attack the smooth cartilage surfaces of joints, in many cases eventually causing severe joint damage and ultimately total destruction of the joint.
Often early intervention with medication can retard or even stop the progression of the disease. Joints of the foot and ankle are frequently involved and may in fact be the primary manifestation of the disease. Early intervention by specialist Rheumatologists is necessary, but your Podiatrist also plays a valuable role.
Podiatrist Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Podiatrists can help people with Rheumatoid arthritis by helping them remain mobile and comfortable. As staying mobile is an essential component of managing the disease process, having pain free feet is part of the big picture. Treatment available may help:
- Improve structural alignment of heel, arch of forefoot
- Reduce strain from Achilles, Plantar Fascia, ankle and toes
- Redistribute force from the forefoot (ball of the foot)
- Help ease the pain associated with bunions and clawing/hammer toes
- Cushion sensitive calluses and corns that form under the foot
- Remove calluses and corns that form
- Trim back thickened toenails and perform nail surgery if required
- Help heal pressure ulcers or sores that won’t heal on their own
- Supplement a loss of natural plantar foot padding
Orthotic treatment options include:
- Soft full length customised orthoses
- Ultra-soft cushioned and rebound materials, for example Slow Release Memory Poron